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Fletcher Entrepreneurs Pitch Their Social Venture Start-Ups on Demo Day
Visibility and potential funding for start-up companies at the Tufts Summer Venture Accelerator Program capstone event
During the hottest 30-day stretch of weather in Boston history, a handful of entrepreneurial teams from Fletcher and Tufts spent their summer feverishly building start-up companies and preparing for Demo Day, the Tufts Venture Accelerator Program’s annual capstone event that is run by the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, part of the Tufts Gordon Institute.
The teams are creating vastly different services, yet all are driven by the singular mission of having an impact and making the world a better place. Demo Day, held on August 18, is the event at which each team delivers a 5-minute pitch about their ventures to an audience of community members, family, friends, and potential investors.
For co-founders Ashira Pelt (MALD 23), Wabei Saboi (MIB 22), and Daniel Kibet (MIB 23), the hard work of preparing for this day meant spending their summer in Zambia to meet with government officials and partner schools to lay the groundwork necessary to get their social venture, Blesser Breakers, off the ground. Blesser Breakers provides educational programming to 8th grade girls in Zambia as a way to reduce exploitation by “sugar daddies” -- older men who give money and gifts in exchange for sexual favors. Blesser Breakers is the 2022 winner of the Fletcher D-Prize Poverty Venture Solution Competition.
Their goal is to reach 1,000 students during a three-month pilot period, and 5,000 students by the end of the first year. To achieve that goal, they are gratefully taking advantage of all the resources the Venture Accelerator Program has to offer.
In addition to Blesser Breakers, two other Fletcher teams participated in Demo Day: Prosal, co-founded by Alfredo Ramirez (MALD 22), is replacing the Request for Proposal (RFP) for non-profits and foundations by bringing it online and making it more inclusive. Baak, founded by Masrura Oishi (MALD 21), is building a virtual mentoring network for girls and young women in Bangladesh, addressing confidence and opportunity gaps so prevalent in this emerging country.
Three teams from Tufts also participated: Malflora Studio, Scope Tennis, and Tessera Intelligence.
Demo Day is more than just a ceremonial capstone event for the program participants; it is an essential part of their educational experience, according to Elaine Chen, Director of the Derby Entrepreneurship Center.
“The teams use Demo Day as a way to hone presentations about their companies,” explains Chen. “It becomes a product they can use, whether it’s for a pitch to investors or a presentation to potential advisors or employees. Going through the Demo Day process forces them to focus on their business fundamentals, fine tune their messaging, and learn to present their vision effectively.”
Chen calls this year’s teams extremely hardworking, and says she loves how committed they are to social change. “They see problems, they see a need, and they take action. They are not afraid to apply their talents and creativity to fix these problems. And that is entirely what we want Tufts students to do. A lot of people have ideas but find it difficult to start. But not these entrepreneurs. They are very, very committed.” More from Elaine here.
Showcasing Fletcher Student/Alumni New Ventures at Demo Day 2022
Learn more about the Fletcher social venture entrepreneurs – in their words.
Masrura Oishi, MALD 21
Founder, Baak Network, a company dedicated to improving the lives of women in Bangladesh through the creation of a virtual mentoring network. Read More
Alfredo Ramirez, MALD 22
Co-founder, CMO/COO, Prosal, a company bringing an innovative, online solution to the wide-spread challenge of managing the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Read More
Ashira Pelt, MALD 23
Co-founder, Blesser Breakers, a company whose mission is to deliver educational programming to 8th grade girls in Zambia as a way to reduce sexual exploitation by “sugar daddies”... Read More