BUILDing Young Entrepreneurs with Bank OZK

Kevin Beauparlant, back center, with the talented team behind the winning pitch. From front left: Liz Kubert of VaynerMedia, Lisa Harap of VaynerMedia, winning students Halle and Endy from the High School of Innovation in Advertising and Media in Canarsie, Brooklyn, Deborah Mercado of Santander, Miles Pincus of Summer Ops, and Sarah Lee of KIPP NYC.

If you’ve watched Shark Tank, you know it takes unique skills to pitch your business to investors. Knowing how to “sell” an idea could be the make-or-break moment. Unfortunately, the art of pitching isn’t always taught to children.

With the help and sponsorship of Bank OZK, BUILD NYC is changing that. They help young entrepreneurs learn how to bring their visions of starting a business to life. Bank OZK has been thrilled to support this exciting nonprofit.

Bank OZK’s SVP of Commercial lending Kevin Beauparlant volunteered as a “pitch judge.” What followed was a lively contest between New York City students with business ideas. Just like “Sharks” Mark Cuban or Lori Greiner on TV, Kevin observed as the students shared their ambitions.

After the judges provided constructive feedback, they named the winners: Halle and Endy, who created a stress-relieving cup called “Yell It Out.”

“As a dad I know the impact these programs can have on kids’ lives, leaving a lifelong impression for the good, Kevin recalled. “BUILD NYC is making an impact on so many and I am proud to be a part of it.”

“Bank OZK is proud to support Build NYC with our time, money and experience,” added Martin Ball, Bank OZK’s Managing Director of New York. “Our New York team enjoys coaching their students. We offer our advice and experiences to help the students with their businesses, schooling and in life.”

“We are pleased to partner with Bank OZK,” said BUILD Executive Director Chymeka Olfonse. “The Bank is not only making a financial investment in our program and students, but donating time and talent. We were pleased to have Kevin Beauparlant serve as a judge and look forward to future involvement of Bank OZK employees.”

It was fun, but more importantly educational. These budding entrepreneurs got a taste of the challenges and excitement involved with getting their business ideas off the ground. We look forward to seeing where they take their careers next!