This time of year is about gearing up and winding down….that means a lot is happening here. While schools are preparing for finals, regents exams and proms – here at NFTE Fairchester we are in the middle of the Semi-Finals of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. On May 29, the top students from the classroom competitions in Westchester County stepped into the spotlight and presented their businesses to a panel of esteemed business leaders and community volunteers at Westchester Community College. But guess what – it doesn’t stop there. On June 5th, we do it all over again – this time for our students in Fairfield County, Connecticut at UConn Stamford. Another winner will be chosen who will join her fellow Westchester County Winner at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City in October.
These amazing events highlight the accomplishments of our students, the dedication of our teachers, and the partnerships that make the work that we do possible…our supporters, volunteers, educators and of course our many colleagues around the country. Thank you for ensuring that every young person can realize a dream, and discover his or her unique pathway to success.
When we gathered at Westchester Community College, we were inspired by our guest speakers: Marsha Gordon, President/CEO of The Business Council of Westchester; Tom Kallish, Chairman and Founder of Tommie Copper; and Jason Rivera, NFTE Fairchester 2012 first place winner and national semi-finalist. Each of these individuals has a unique perspective on the power of entrepreneurship to transform lives. Jason, an emerging entrepreneur and a student at Pace University majoring marketing, attributes NFTE for opening many doors including an invitation to speak at The MasterCard Global Inclusion Summit in winter 2013.
The Fairchester semi-finalists of this year’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge are once again proving that NFTE truly serves as a conduit for students to take control of their futures. Fueled with innovative business ideas, the 2013 NFTE class was able to work with their highly skilled teachers and mentors as they navigated through the curriculum on the road to a polished and comprehensive business plan.
This is also the time of year when our staff and Board of Advisors finalize plans for the upcoming school year. In reviewing our accomplishments and challenges we were reminded how much our chapter has grown and the potential that still beckons our attention and sparks our creativity. In 2014 we will be celebrating our 15 Year Anniversary and the more than 14,000 students who have received a NFTE education through school district collaborations with our chapter. In the coming year we plan to serve nearly 1,900 youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, almost 30% more students than this past year. We intend to deepen our partnerships and engage and recognize our volunteers with exciting events and activities. And stay tuned for the announcement of our first ever NFTE Fairchester fundraising gala.
As our network of generous sponsors, volunteers and community supporters grows so does our ability to empower students to think like entrepreneurs, become the engines of economic revitalization and growth, and plan for financially independent futures. Thank you for being an essential part of this journey.