Becker College Student Chosen for StartUp Worcester
For the fourth time in as many years, a Becker College student has been selected to participate in StartUp Worcester, an entrepreneurship initiative designed to nurture startups. Racquel Knight, founder of One Chair 4 One Child (OC4OC), a social business that is working to improve education in Jamaica by providing every student in rural schools with a sturdy, adequate chair, was recently chosen for this program, sponsored by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“I am very grateful to have gotten this opportunity from StartUp Worcester. This definitely puts OC4OC in the right direction,” said Knight, a fourth-year Global Citizenship major who began developing her idea at Becker’s Yunus Social Business Centre and executed her business plan under the mentorship of the College’s professors. “We are finally getting situated, and I know I’ll be able to grow from here.”
Social businesses work to identify problems and create self-sustaining business solutions that have social impact, while generating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities that drive economic development regionally and around the world.
Knight joins 11 other small Worcester businesses. StartUp Worcester participants are chosen from a pool of 26 applicants whose business proposals are ranked based on the companies’ potential for viability and growth, readiness and business model strength. Finalists then go on to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges that selects the winners.
“We are so proud to support our region’s young entrepreneurs and help them grow their business here,” said Karen Pelletier, vice president of operations and director of education and workforce development at the chamber. “These bright and very talented graduates, like Racquel, are instrumental to maintaining a vibrant local economy and community,”
Program participants – many of whom are graduates of the area’s colleges and universities – have access to work space, publicity, business resources and a network of professionals. Additionally, they receive a one-year membership in the Chamber of Commerce.
Past Becker College participants of StartUp Worcester are: Ryan Canuel ’15, Petricore Games; Breeze Grigas ’13, Zephyr Workshop; Rejon Taylor-Foster ’17, Maximum Crash; and Tyler Haddad ’18, Psychoactive Entertainment. Petricore Games, whose staff of six consists entirely of Becker College graduates, operates out of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) New Ventures Center in the Colleen C. Barrett Center on the College’s Worcester campus.
“Racquel, just like the Becker students before her who also earned a spot in this coveted program, perfectly embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and agility we instill in each of our students,” said Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D., president of Becker College. “We congratulate Racquel on this well-deserved win, which puts her another step closer to fulfilling her business goals. What a great way to culminate her studies at Becker.”
This year’s winners will be formally announced during a press conference and reception on Thursday, May 10, 4 to 6 pm at the Worcester Clean Tech Incubator, 44 Portland St., 4th fl., Worcester, MA.