Archive for December 2011

Interview with entrepreneur Shay Olivarria, founder of Bigger Than Your Block

What was your background prior to starting Bigger Than Your Block, LLC?

Shay Olivarria

Shay Olivarria

I grew up really poor and emancipated from foster care. I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a minor in business management at California State University Dominguez Hills, work on a master’s degree at theUniversityofNorth Texas, and travel to nine countries. I made financial mistakes the whole way and I wanted students to learn from my mistakes.


What inspired you to start your business?

I had worked with youth for about ten years at that point. I was running a truancy program in Philly when I began my speaking career. The curriculum was about helping students that were chronically truant make different choices, but the students inSouth Philadelphiahave some immediate issues of food, clothing, and shelter to worry about. I started incorporating financial education points with the students. The students loved it and I was asked to update the curriculum. I saw that students really connected to me and my way of explaining things.


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