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Over 100 Student & Youth Entrepreneurs Showcase Innovative Ideas

Press Release

On April 24th, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox held its 2013 Sandbox Catalyst Showcase at the Everett Mills in Lawrence. Over 100 student and youth entrepreneurs showcased their innovative ideas from various sectors such as food, fashion, education, and tech. The Sandbox Catalyst Program works with high schools, colleges, and community youth groups to provide connections, support, and seed grants to students and youth to try out their entrepreneurial ideas. Since the beginning of 2011, the Catalyst Program has funded over 600 student and youth entrepreneurs.

Ideas at the showcase included a hybrid power tricycle for special-needs children with poor leg/core strength, tasty homemade Asian steam buns, and a fashionable purse with built-in lights and speakers. 

“I had a great time showcasing Grab a Bite, a website to help students get deals on local restaurants, at the 2013 Sandbox Catalyst Showcase,” says Aldo Beqiraj, a senior Electrical Engineering student at UMass Lowell. “I made a lot of great connections and got valuable feedback. This experience will no doubt help me take my business idea to the next level.”

In addition to these entrepreneurs showcasing their ideas, there was a pitch contest for top youth ant students. Special guest speakers for the evening included:

•    Desh Deshpande – Co-Founder, Deshpande Foundation
•    Lane Glenn – President, Northern Essex Community College
•    Jeffrey White - Chief Creativity Officer, Rightside Shirts

The Catalyst Program partners with various colleges, high schools, and community youth groups including UMass Lowell, Lawrence High School, and the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.  The Sandbox is supported by the Deshpande Foundation.

About the Merrimack Valley Sandbox:
The Sandbox started in December 2010 with the mission of boosting the economic and social well-being of greater Lowell and Lawrence by advancing entrepreneurship and innovation.

About the Deshpande Foundation:
Gururaj (Desh) and Jaishree Deshpande have encouraged the use of entrepreneurship and innovation as catalysts for sustainable change in the United States, India and Canada since 1996. The Foundation supports organizations that strengthen local ecosystems, build leaders and entrepreneurs and catalyze innovative thinking, to accelerate creation of sustainable, scalable enterprises that have significant social or market impact.

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