CEO Field Visit to Non-Profit Startup in Boston – Convergence of two different business models for Startups

For my CEO field trip, which is a part of the BU MBA experience, I met with Helen Rosenfeld who leads strategic partnerships at Resilient Coders, a Boston based non-profit startup providing a FREE (6 to 7 weeks) web development bootcamp and job placement assistance for small cohorts of “at risk” young adults from a community traditionally underrepresented in the tech industry.

Although this field visit was not my first choice, the experience of being at their office and learning from Helen has greatly exceeded my expectations. By the end of the visit, I’ve learned not only about the virtuous mission of this young non-profit and their focus to empower “at risk” young adults in Boston, but also about the many challenges and their impressive successes.

The field experience itself was highly uplifting, inspiring, and educational. Interestingly enough, Resilient Coders’ office is located right next to the Startup Institute, a for-profit coding bootcamp focused on disrupting traditional education by helping highly-motivated career changers build valuable technical, teamwork, and networking skills in just 12 weeks of intensive training and helping their graduates join innovative startups.

On the 14th floor of 50 Milk Street in Boston, two different business models and philosophies converge. Both companies empower people by helping them develop new sets of skills in a short amount of time, with the ultimate goal to help their graduates find jobs that can turn into meaningful careers. What sets Resilient Coders apart from Startup Institute, is they actively help young adults at risk of “falling off a societal cliff”.

The non-profit initiative of Resilient Institute aims to bring much needed balance to the tech field in particular, and society as a whole. The best part is that they are not doing a la “The Big Government” style by dishing out welfare checks under the guise of compassion (and also, arguably, in exchange for “D” votes), but rather they teach young adults “How to fish” for themselves, and thus empowering them to become self-reliant and self-sufficient members within their own community and larger society.

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