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Babson Business: InnerCity Weightlifting

• Name of business:
InnerCity Weightlifting
• Mission:
To support the academic and life achievement of urban youth who are on a direct path to gang involvement, former gang members, gang members trying to get out, and victims of abuse, through the sport of Olympic lifting. We provide a choice for these students, when other options may not be present. We empower our students/athletes with the confidence to say no: to a gang, to an abusive family member, to the barriers they face each day.
• Year Began:
Officially: January 5th, 2010
Unofficially: November 2009

• Where:
Given our target population it is not safe for our students to travel to certain places in Boston. Some students are also not initially safe to train together. Therefore, we operate out of several sites around Boston. Currently we are operating at a gym in Back Bay, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, and Roslindale.

We are working with the Boston Recreation Department and will potentially be renovating  five community centers in Boston to effectively reach our target population of students. Efforts are being made to raise enough money to renovate an Olympic lifting studio/center that will serve as the primary location and headquarters.
• Founder:
Jon Feinman, CSCS, USAW Coach
Executive Director; Founder
Cell: 413-335-3547
Social Entrepreneur and current Babson MBA student.

• Employees: 7

• How The Idea Began:
Working with gang members in East Boston as part of a year of service through an Americorps program, I realized that there were very few, if any, programs these students were interested in. Furthermore, if they were to join a program, it didn’t take long for them to get kicked out due to a zero tolerance policy or three strike rule. InnerCity Weightlifting is based first upon capturing their interests, and students are members for life, no matter what may happen.
• Favorite Thing about the Business:
Interacting with our students/athletes, getting to know them, and building trusting relationships.
• Worst Thing About the Business:
Not having enough space/funding to expand our impact as quickly as we would like.