The following are the observations of Anjelica Garcia, a Development Intern in the NFTE NY Metro office, during the first day of Startup Summer.
It is 8:30 on Monday morning in the middle of July. About a dozen public high school juniors and seniors are sitting in a lecture hall at Long Island University in Brooklyn. These students have been selected to participate in NFTE Startup Summer. Instead of earning money at a summer job, these students are participating in a five-month-long intensive business incubator.
It all starts after completing the initial NFTE course at a NYC public school. These students were competitively selected to participate in the advanced Startup Summer, which is now in is second year. For one participant, Vincent Mascoll, today is his 16th birthday. The goal of the program is to support the most talented and motivated NFTE alumni through the process of a business launch. Students are given a laptop, business portfolio, professional mentors, and modest stipend to compensate for the lack of a summer job. As young as these students are, they are not strangers to the entrepreneurial world. They all have fully developed brands, complete with a proposal, pitch, and business plan that have been reviewed by business professionals and entrepreneurs who serve as NFTE volunteers in the New York area.
Startup Summer is being taught by NFTE staff and Tara Bellevue, a NFTE Certified Entrepreneurship Teacher from Business of Sports School in midtown Manhattan. Each day, they will focus on a different aspect of business ownership and management. Today brings me back to one of the first days of my college courses. All of the students are prepared with their materials, are dressed like grown-up business professionals and eager to get down to business. As they collaborate to establish a group of norms that they will abide by during the course of the intensive, the students greet a long day’s work with the motto “with each failure comes an opportunity.” Is it just me, or do these kids seem a lot wiser than their years?
Anjelica is a New York University graduate with plans of starting her own business. Check back tomorrow for another Startup Summer  update from Anjelica.