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CityStart Boston Pitches

After a day of identifying challenges, tossing ideas back and forth, and ideation, our intrepid City Starters are presenting their concepts to our judges:

  • Katie Stebbins
  • Greg Mamet
  • Sandra Casagrande

Here's an overview of the teams and their ideas:

Team 1 – Boston Community Action Group
The problem – our neighborhood lack a shared voice and identity.  College students don’t affiliate with their neighborhood but with their college instead. A Northeastern student says, “Lonely Planet tells people to avoid Roxbury.” They don’t know Roxbury!
Solution: empower local leaders with a re-usable action plan. Bring business school leaders to the neighbors.  Find university partners for each neighborhood.

Team 2 – CommunityStart – Boston
The problem – Picture a sunny day after our tough winter and see a playground down the street.  But between us and the playground is an empty lot.  
Solution – a Crowd (community) sourced solution proposal on an up-vote platform (a la Reddit). Grants will initially fund the launch.  Community members need to feel empowered.  Businesses see this as a marketing tool.  Non-elected officials are able to deliver services more effectively.  Elected officials feel connected to their base.

Team 3 – Innovation Intersections
Problem – Low graduation rate in Boston High Schools.  Current school curriculum is outdated.
Opportunity -- 128 schools, 57,000 high schools.
Solution – Partner with education businesses (Kahn Acaemy, Cicso) to offer classes in relevant skills. Content providers sponsor courses that provide exposure for their programs.

Team 4 – The Apprentice Lab
Problem: large unskilled, unemployed and uneducated population that may have a criminal background.  Finding a job is difficult.  The communities suffer too because they lack access to workforce.
Solution:  A training program that connects local businesses to applicants. Guidelines for hiring.  The Apprentice Lab certifies/vouches for employees after their apprenticeship.

Team 6 – MyBlock
Problem – how do we encourage entrepreneurship in the neighborhoods
Solution: a platform displaying vacant storefronts and lots in which users propose and vote for desired businesses.  Users provide information and customers purchase data.  Start in Dorchester.

Team 7 – NeighborHire
Problem – large companies have the ability to outspend local companies on search.  Who are the business people in your Neighborhood?
Tinder-style solution to find only local companies and local people, only companies under 30 employees. Local meetups per category.  Anyone who truly cares about their neighborhood.  Hyper-local – if you would pay extra for local food, wouldn’t you pay less for local business people.

Team 8 – Community Jolt
Problem – local businesses need social media and web presence and teen unemployment is high
Solution – Neighborhood geek squad with youth mentored by local volunteer experts.

Team 9 -- The InnoBus

Make innovation and learning easily accessible in the underserved communities
Solution: Create an agile classroom. What food trucks did to the restaurant industry, we will do for Innovation.

Team A – Neighborhub - Creating Innovation Spaces in every neighborhood.
Problem: Derelict buildings.  Owners wait for gentrification and then convert to luxury condos, bypassing participation in
Solution: Mixed development – crowdfunded co-ownership and community businesses get equity.

Team 10 - The Fish Tank

Problem: The innovators communities need already live there but the innovation world is geared to the Sharks. Local innovators risk getting eaten alive. Local innovators struggle to access what they need.

Solution: The Fish Tank, a place (online/physical place) where residents come together to succeed.