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Daquan Oliver ’14, founder of Recesspreneurs, which teaches entrepreneurship to at-risk middle school students, has been named one of the "five black student leaders to watch in 2014" by the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Oliver was one of the “five college students whose big dreams have turned into tangible commitments to improve the world.” He was honored at CGI U 2014 at Arizona State University, where more than 1,000 student leaders from all 50 states and over 80 countries gathered to incubate Commitments to Action that address some of the Millennial generation's most pressing concerns.

During CGI U ceremonies former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised Oliver for his work with Recesspreneurs.


“There’s one example that I want to leave with you. Last year at CGI U a student from Babson College named Daquan Oliver committed to start an entrepreneurship training program for underserved middle and high school aged kids in Massachusetts. He went home. He started working on a curriculum. Raising money. Looking for private sector partners. A year later he’s hired three staff. They’re holding training sessions at a NGO in South Boston. The young people who participate build and run simulation businesses. They also learn workplace skills like time management, teamwork, planning, public speaking, and critical thinking. That’s the kind of initiative we hope to spur here this year as well.”

CGI U Profile of Oliver

Never Too Young to Start(up)

Every entrepreneur needs inspiration. Daquan Oliver received it in droves from his mother, who raised him as a single parent in Westchester, New York. Daquan says that because of her example, he started his first business at seven years old. Now, at 22, he presides over the marketing company Jossle, listed among Business Insider's top college startups.

“As I grew up watching my mother defeat the odds, her drive rubbed off on me,” he said. “Subconsciously I became determined to make her hard work worth it.”

Daquan's resolve is reflected in his 2013 CGI U Commitment to Action to develop Recesspreneurs, a program that fosters entrepreneurship among Roxbury, Massachusetts middle-schoolers. By empowering the at-risk students to build their own mock companies—complete with ladders to leadership positions and opportunities to incorporate their passions—Daquan hopes to inspire youth to achieve the same upward mobility that his mother worked to provide for him.

“My CGI U commitment derives from a promise I made at the age of 14—that despite all obstacles, I would become successful, and help children like me become successful as well,” Daquan said. “Recesspreneurs is the manifestation of that promise.”

About CGI

The mission of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is to turn ideas into action.

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, CGI members have made more than 2,500 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $88 billion.

The 2014 CGI Annual Meeting will be held from September 21-24 in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting devoted to economic recovery and job creation in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students who are developing commitments in their communities and around the world.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society—while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.

By Lindsey Cunningham,, 781-239-4548 | 05/13/2014 07:00