BU Student and Alumni Entrepreneurs Use Their Platforms to Support COVID-19 Efforts

Whether it’s a tech solution, a nonprofit or mission-driven startup, or a community project, the BU students and alumni we see at the BUild Lab every day are working to solve problems. While we can’t physically meet and work at the BUild Lab right now, BU Terriers’ drive to create meaningful impact for others hasn’t stopped. 

Meet a few BU alumni and student entrepreneurs who are using their startups and platforms to support those most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Chris Tolles (QST’14), cofounder of skincare gummy company Sundaily, banded together with local community members to ensure Cambridge Public School students have access to meals while school is closed. According to Bostinno, the “Feed Cambridge Families initiative raised $15,000 in one day with a goal of $100,000 monetary or gift card donations. 

  • Last week, Sara duPont (QST’19), founder of The Mindful Applicant, offered free virtual essay-writing workshops to help students and community participants reconnect with their “why” during stressful times. duPont’s startup is focused on helping high school students strengthen their social-emotional skills to better prepare them for college.

  • Taylor Aldredge (COM’11) and Denise Biderman, cofounders of Mary’s List and winners of the 2018 BU Cannabis Startup Competition, launched Band(age) Together, a free marketplace to list and share emergency medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). Those with extra supplies can quickly connect with the facility in need to coordinate a donation. 

  • Grant Gregory (QST’19), former Summer Accelerator participant and founder of Apollos Health, wants to harness the talents and skills across BU to solve at least one major need in the healthcare community and beyond. Individuals can express interest to work on solutions for child services, food insecurity, tech shortages, education, medical supplies, and more. 

  • Cofounders of The Leadership Brainery, Jonathan Allen (LAW’19) and Derrick Young, are raising funds to help homeless and disadvantaged diverse students who have been displaced by COVID-19. The funds raised provide $100 mini-grants. In just a few weeks, they have raised over $8,000 with a goal of $10,000. 

  • Sarah Greisdorf (CAS’20), founder of Holdette, and her team published a quick guide for donating to charities in need right now. As a small business, they also shared meaningful ways to support local and small businesses including buying gift cards and taking advantage of virtual memberships to local gyms/workout studios. 

  • After responding to a call on LinkedIn from a former colleague, Brian Hough (COM’18)  and team members from across the world are building CoronaTracker, an app for monitoring COVID-19 symptoms, monitoring the user’s health and keeping users informed during the pandemic. Since then, they came in 20th place out of 300 projects in the worldwide Hack Zurich’s Code vs. COVID-19 hackathon getting them one step closer to potential funding and partnerships to further develop the app. 

  • Victoria Gonzales Canalle (ENG’23), the founder of social impact startup Marmelaad, is helping the Mass General Brigham Center for COVID Innovation with its mission to develop new innovations to flatten the curve and protect front line, clinical staff. Victoria is supporting the group through research of potential resources to help make these ideas a reality. Community members are invited to track their progress and provide feedback on its website. 

  • Ameera Hammouda (QST’18), who is in the midst of building a new fashion line, is turning her venture fundraising efforts into an opportunity to provide much-needed PPE. Ameera has put her fashion sample designing on pause in order to make medical face masks. For every $100 donated to her funding campaign, she’ll be sewing and donating cloth face masks to Mass General Hospital.

Students and community members who are interested in helping community and colleges cope with COVID-19 are encouraged to participate in The Resiliency Challenge, led by BU Spark. The Resiliency Challenge is a nine-week, virtual hackathon, with three-week sprint challenges aimed at catalyzing student innovation in response to the unprecedented situation facing colleges and communities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Learn more about The Resiliency Challenge

More Innovation, More Inspiration