On Thursday, October 3, NFTE’s top 38 young entrepreneurs competed in at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (#NYEC) for a chance at $25,000 in cash and prizes. The finalists, who are all business plan competition winners from their respective regions, were required to develop and present original business plans as part of their entrepreneurial studies at school, based on NFTE's experiential curriculum.
Just this week the venerable publication The Economist shined a spotlight on the reality of the youth unemployment crisis. There are now estimated to be 290 million young people – 25% of all youth worldwide – who are not employed, pursing education or in a vocational training program. NFTE and entrepreneurship education are more vital than ever.
Credibility is extremely important to the success of any entrepreneur. Individuals do business with people they trust and believe in. So how can a young entrepreneur gain the respect and credibility from customers and future investors?
1. Become an Expert of the Product or Service You are Selling
My name is Jessica Cervantes and I am the founder of Popsy Cakes, the 2008 NFTE National award winning company. NFTE changed my life. They didn’t just teach me how to operate my own business, but they taught life skills. I am able to communicate with others and I can even stand and speak in front of an audience, and although I am still terribly nervous, I have conquered my fear of public speaking. NFTE has also in many ways funded my company and my education. I am now a senior at the University of Miami. I am a Microbiology major and hope to attend Med School in the Fall of 2014. My business is thriving, thanks to the help of many, notably Bill Hansen, Craig Edelmen, and Stewart Merkin. Popsy Cakes is now in over 50 locations including Miami International Airport and Bongos in Downtown Disney. We are now expanding our company, looking for investors, and trying to meet our high demand.
My story began about 6 years ago when I was a junior at John A. Ferguson Senior High School.
Michael Chow and David Bettner, then of Zynga with Friends, headlined a panel discussion on entrepreneurship at NFTE Bay Area’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Michael and David are best known for inventing and releasing Words with Friends, which topped 60 million downloads.
Today at 9:00 AM ET (Tuesday, November 27th) the Microsoft Giving Tuesday begins! This is your last chance to Double Your Impact and your gift to NFTE through the generosity of the people at Microsoft. Matches will be made up to $1,000 per donor, per project on the Give For Youth website, and funding is limited.