Engage San Francisco, USF’s Campus-Community Partnership with The Fillmore / Western Addition funded the Success Center’s Entrepreneurship in a Nutshell Program through the Community Partnership Innovation Fund (CPIF). This pilot program is a collaboration between USF Professor Vivian Faustino-Pulliam, USF MBA Program, the Success Centers‘ Equity for Industry Program, and several Success Centers’ employer partners. Keith Bynum, the winner of the first “Start-up Pitch Night” is the focus of this week’s blog.
The Entrepreneurship in a Nutshell program provides entrepreneurship education as an alternative path to economic and social mobility for non-traditional adult learners. The Success Centers see entrepreneurship as not just limited to small businesses but also part of much wider areas including social enterprise, gig economy, and startups whose goal is to get acquired. Pitch Night serves as a test for entreprenuers to make their presentations in front of judges with the pressure that comes with it.
Keith Bynum, Jr., the winner of Pitch Night, is a native of San Francisco and grew up in the Western Addition. Keith’s business, Safety Training Zone, provides safety training, assessment and management for construction and industrial companies. Prior to starting his business, he had over 20 years of experience in the construction industry with an AA degree in Construction Management from Diablo Valley College. He developed his skill set personally and professionally in an area that interested him – safety management.
Keith’s pitch deck (linked here) highlights his philosophy of balancing his clientele between the standard construction industry and collaboration with community organizations that help those in need of employment. In seeking partnerships with organizations that provide employment and training, Keith explains that he started his company “with the mindset of giving back and helping those in need of training and certifications to jump start their careers.” He has stayed true to his word, as in addition to his own work, he provides safety and industrial training for Ironworkers Local 377, volunteers in the Success Centers’ Construction Training Program as a mentor and trainer.
Executive Director of the Success Centers, Liz Jackson-Simpson lauded Keith’s work at Start-up Pitch Night, “Keith worked hard on his plan and is the first-place winner of Start-up Pitch Night. Keith “always believed if folks knew better, they would do better”. She added that due to the success of the program, the Success Centers “won a grant from the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to continue the effort.” As the Pitch Night winner, Keith will get to attend the Global Startup Grind 2021, one of the major anchor events for many startups and founders across the world.
Learn more about Engage San Francisco and it’s next round Community Partnership Innovation Grants.