About Next Up!
The KIPP Next Up! Competition is designed to provide the most promising KIPP alumni entrepreneurs with an opportunity to raise funding, network with experts, and gain exposure for their ventures. Application finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas at KIPP School Summit 2019, a forward-looking celebration of KIPP’s 25th Anniversary from July 29 – 31 in Houston, TX. Participation is free and includes personalized coaching for entrepreneurs to refine and practice their pitches.
Atalia Castro, Co-founder & Director of The Home Centers
At a young age, Atalia Castro lived in an orphanage in Mexico that was operated by her parents. It was during those early years that Atalia remembers her interest in early childhood education first being sparked. Later, while studying Child Development and Family Studies at Stephen F. Austin State University, Atalia interned at a Head Start program, an experience which further ignited her passion for early childhood development, especially for children growing up in educationally underserved communities.
In 2017, Atalia and her brother Jaciel came up with a vision for a program that could help children from bilingual households improve their literacy skills. The concept leverages international best practices and research-based education philosophies to help bridge the gap for children struggling to read. Through their passion and experience, Atalia and Jaciel launched the program through The Home Centers, an existing community-based, family-operated organization in Houston.
A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, Founder & CEO of SHE Wins Inc.
Born and raised in the city of Newark, A’Dorian founded SHE Wins Inc. to create a pipeline of college, career, and community-ready young women leaders. SHE Wins is a leadership and social action organization for middle and high school girls affected by violence in Newark, New Jersey. Through mentorship, service, and trauma-informed care, SHE Wins programs have reached nearly 500 girls in the Newark area and SHE Wins service projects have touched more than 1,300 members of the Newark community.
For her work in education and women’s empowerment, A’Dorian has received numerous awards. She was honored as a White House Champion of Change by President Obama, and named one of Glamour Magazine’s College Women of the Year, a Youth Service America Everyday Young Hero, and a Young Futurist by The Root Magazine. A’Dorian is a 2016 graduate of Swarthmore College and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Educational Studies. She is currently running for school board in Newark to continue deepening her impact in the city she knows best.
Khalil Idris, Founder & CEO of Khalil Idris
Khalil was born in Newark, New Jersey. He started his journey with KIPP in the sixth grade at KIPP New Jersey’s first school: TEAM Academy. He went on to attend the first KIPP high school in New Jersey: Newark Collegiate Academy. NCA is where he began his entrepreneurial endeavors, selling candy and sneakers to schoolmates. In 2011, he began his collegiate career at Rutgers University as a business management major, and started concentrating on entrepreneurship.
He eventually started his own clothing brand on campus, “Amenity” and produced and sold clothing out of his dorm to students on campus and via his e-commerce site. In 2013, Khalil dropped out of school to focus solely on his business. In the midst of building his brand, he started interning for fashion designers in Manhattan. In 2016, Khalil created his luxury brand, Khalil Idris, where he sells made-to-order shoes for men and women. Khalil is currently building his two brands and enjoys spending time with his wife and family, and playing basketball.
Shirin Vetry, Founder & CEO of Fishing Rod
Shirin Vetry is a proud KIPP alum from Houston, Texas. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania last May, she moved to Colombia where she is currently working as a Fulbright Scholar. Her experience working in community development across four continents inspired her to create Fishing Rod, a no-interest fund focused on providing comprehensive expert assistance for local entrepreneurs to establish and scale social enterprises.
Shirin has extensive experience in community development. Some highlights of her journey include implementing part of an EU-based program for Strengthening Social Cohesion and Slum Stability at the International Organization for Migration in Uganda, piloting a social enterprise for refugee integration in France, and leading research projects in the Bolivian Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Leaders of non or for-profit ventures in any industry are welcomed to apply. Ideal candidates will fit the following criteria:
- Alumna/us of KIPP middle or high school
- 18 years or older
- Can submit a prototype of product or service for review
- Ambitious goals and vision to have an outsized impact
- Strong communication skills
- Commitment to attend all coaching and practice sessions, travel for in-person summit, and participate fully in the other components of the competition
- Models the KIPP character values
- Connections to KIPP’s network of 200+ investors, partners, community leaders, and industry experts
- Participants will compete for cash prizes; specific amounts are pending confirmation
- Personalized coaching to refine and practice pitches
- Paid travel and accommodations for participation in KIPP School Summit 2019
- Connections to the broader KIPP community and other Next Up! participants
- Passion: you live and breath the nature of your startup
- Purpose: your product or service is designed to solve a challenging problem
- Promise: the potential of your leadership and your startups impact is sky high
- Plan: you can effectively communicate a plan to bring your idea to fruition
The application will be open from October 8th – December 7th, 2018.
Yes. KIPP alumni who are KIPP employees and can submit a prototype of their product or service are welcomed to apply.
All KIPP alumni who are over 18 years old and can submit a prototype of their product or service are welcomed to apply.
- Step 1: Review competition information including the 1-page Overview and “Frequently Asked Questions”.
- Step 2: Apply here by Sunday December 7th at 11:59pm PT. To apply, you will be asked to submit three short responses and a 30-60 second video. Please note: you cannot start an application and submit later. Consider saving your answers in a separate document and submitting at one time.
Finalists will be selected and confirmed via email during January 2019.
There is no cost to participants. KIPP Foundation is pleased to cover travel, meals, lodging and materials for selected finalists.
October – December 2019: Application Window
December 7, 2019: Entrepreneur Applications Due
January 2019: Select entrepreneurs invited to pitch at KSS 2019!
February – June 2019: Pitch practice and coaching
July 29 – 31, 2019: Compete live and attend KSS 2019!
Participants are expected to spend approximately 10 hours per month from January – July preparing for the live competition. Participants are required to present their pitches at KIPP School Summit in Houston, TX on July 30th 2019.
Fill out an interest form and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org.