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College Boot-Camp meets Social Entrepreneurship

Creating college affordability by bridging key collaborators while empowering our Brooklyn community

Photo of Tatiana Pilon
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

Our mission is to empower our community by offering affordable educational options to ambitious high school graduates.

What if I told you that we want to invest in your future? We want you to succeed, to go to the world and create amazing things while pursuing a college diploma. Our mission is to make your dream of going to college real and more affordable.

After extensive research, we realize that the most crucial years for college success are the two first years of college. As a matter of fact, during those years many students drop out because of lack of financial funds or academic incompatibility.

Our social venture aims to support students by offering educational options. We believe by bringing together universities and companies, we can deliver high-value education with guaranteed job placement.

As a social entrepreneurship based in Brooklyn, our goal is to help our community to move forward. Our program will focus on ambitious high school graduates pursuing affordable, higher education. Meanwhile, we will create synergy by partnering with the booming tech startup scene in Downtown Brooklyn and NYC enterprises. We will match the best talent coming from our program with amazing internship opportunities within local zip codes.

Our education model will be a combination of openware classes supported by outstanding instructors from universities. The classes will be counted as college credits and will allow the student to transfer to partner universities after completion of the 3 year program.


Students apply to our program through degrees in engineering, business or technology. A percentage of spots will be held for students from underprivileged backgrounds. Our role would be to bridge the gap between companies and universities and provide support to the student to ensure retention.

Phase One: 2 Year General Ed Bootcamp

During this time students out of high school will participate in a two-year intensive bootcamp that covers all pre-requirements such as English, math and general courses. Students that place low on placement exams are still in a 2 year program with more time commitment.

Phase Two: 1 Year Internship

Students pick four job positions and spend 3 months with each company in the field. They get the opportunity to experience the day to day, develop their network, as well as learning about different industries.

Phase Three: 2 Year Intensive

The student then picks a career opportunity they would like to pursue and enters an intensive university curriculum that gears them to achieve it. The partner university will offer a career track and establish benchmarks set by the company. As long as benchmarks met, the student is guaranteed a job with the company coming out of the program. This curriculum is a collaboration between a university & the company and grants them a bachelors degree in the field.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Our team will be pitching the idea to other fellow social entrepreneurs.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We would like to hear suggestions on how can we support financially our social entrepreneurship. As well as insights on how to evolve our idea into prototype and hopefully implement it.

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Tatiana and team, your idea seems to try to address important issues highlighted during the research phase. I have to admit that I'm not completely sure about the general journey for the students, in particular how what you offer from the current undergraduate education (e.g. the first 2 years of general ed is what is offered today). You might also try to use a persona (some personas) with a scenario / experience map in order to refine your idea. This will help community members understand better your idea but it will also help you articulate the different components and help you prototype it. See for example, Gavin's idea in this challenge
or Meena's idea in the ewaste challenge:

I'm also wondering what would be the incentive for a university to partner with you, and what is really the role of universities.

You might want to check these 2 ideas that emerged from the NYU OpenIDEO meet up and see if you can build upon them as they are addressing parts of the issue your idea is addressing:
Reading your idea, I also thought of this idea:

In terms of prototyping, depending on your key design statement and value proposition is, you might want to get feedback from students: would they sign up for your program rather than going to college? (By the way how different is it in terms of costs?)
It would be also important to test the idea with universities if you want to partner with them.

Good luck in developing your idea further.

Photo of Sushma Ravindran

Thank you so much for the feedback and direction Anne-Laure. We are looking at ways to refine the idea further. Our team was also very inspired/interested with this idea and thought it was similar to ours:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Sushma, glad you found the feedback useful and looking forward to see your idea evolve.
You should definitely build upon (It's just a drag and drop :-) ) on this idea and see how it can inspire you in developing your idea further.
In terms of developing a business model for your idea, you might want to test the idea with potential partners: companies or start ups (for the latter, you could reach out to the start ups in the NYU incubators).