Building Blocks Alumni Reunion

Melissa Toman (SIPA'22)
December 10, 2021

On January 16, 2021, Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul hosted the first Building Blocks Alumni Reunion. This event brought together the cohorts of the Social Entrepreneurship Annual Workshop that took place in Jordan, Turkey and Kenya. The alumni event consisted of a keynote speaker, discussions on leadership opportunities, and student presentations.

Building Blocks, founded by Irene Koo (CC’20) and Justice Betty (GS’18), is an enterprise that holds annual social entrepreneurship workshops for high school students. Led by a team of Columbia University students, these workshops provide participants with five days of insight into the world of entrepreneurship and creating innovative solutions for their local and global communities.

The course included lectures about how entrepreneurship is changing the world, how students can be part of that change, and meetings with successful entrepreneurs sharing their lessons as master innovators. The students also participated in a Shark Tank activity, where they worked in teams to pitch solutions to real-world problems to panelists who provided them feedback on their feasibility, including financial aspects and revenue creations.

In an interconnected and rapidly advancing society, innovation and entrepreneurship are becoming increasingly important. Building Blocks seeks to respond to these new dynamics by inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. It was wonderful to reconnect with the Building Blocks (formerly CORE) team and see their progress! We look forward to hosting more alumni events in the future and continue fostering a strong alumni network through future Social Entrepreneurship Annual Workshops.