Toheeb Okenla and Jesus Fernandez were recently named winners of NFTE’s annual National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge(NYEC) for their business T&J Soccer, a retail business that sells soccer socks to protect player’s shins during game.
The following is a Q&A with NFTE Bay Area Board Member Dean Sivara; Mr. Sivara is the Vice President of Ideation for the Global Business Incubator at SAP.
Why are you involved with NFTE?
I have been involved with NFTE for 2 years. The organization focuses on introducing entrepreneur principles to under-privileged kids, which is an excellent cause to promote technology and entrepreneurship to kids who don’t have many resources in their young lives.
What motivates you?
Helping young people obtain more insights into how to start a business. Helping young people achieve business goals and push towards entering college.
By: Ernst & Young LLP's McLean Tax Partner John Domenick
When I joined the Ernst & Young organization in 1999, the mindset of corporate responsibility stood out to me in every aspect of our business. Intrigued, impressed, excited — those were the words that came to mind when I was first introduced to Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and its mission. After relocating to McLean, Virginia, in 2011, I got involved with the local high school class Ernst & Young LLP had recently adopted through NFTE's Adopt-a-Class program. I became leader of our Adopt-a-Class program shortly thereafter, recognizing its alignment with the firm's community engagement efforts.
Wow! What a treat it was to attend the 2013 MasterCard Global Inclusion Summit.
The MasterCard Global Inclusion Summit, a companywide event, was held at MasterCard’s beautiful headquarters in Purchase, NY last week. The Summit was a series of panel discussions and interviews by MasterCard employee moderators, providing insights on “next” practices that best link diversity and inclusion to drive business impact. It focused on the many ways MasterCard employees could use their diverse backgrounds and experiences to strengthen MasterCard’s understanding of the complex challenges in the global marketplace.
“The specific subject matter isn’t as important as keeping kids engaged and building their confidence and real world skill set”
This may seem like an odd quote to discuss the benefits of a specific education curriculum like NFTE, but it rang true to my personal experience. Going into ninth grade, I was a stuttering, shy kid who was unsure of what I might want to do or who I was as an individual. That was all until I met my 9th grade trigonometry teacher, Mr. Loomis. I remember his booming voice coming down the hall, inviting “Mr. Miller” into his class.
Get motivated by your passions and make the most of your dreams. NFTE Bay Area Advisory Board Member John Chisholm has an entrepreneurial mindset, and in this TEDxUFM presentation he’s helping you realize how to realize yours.
I’ve been involved with NFTE for almost 4 years now – wow!
What started as a way for me to utilize my skillsets as an investor and advisor to entrepreneurs in support of my passion for education has morphed into, honestly, a way of life. Late last year I made a career switch and joined an education-focused startup company, www.campusexplorer.com, with the goal of founding my own one day.
While this was the scariest decision of my life, I felt a strange comfort because of two important lessons that have guided me. Interestingly enough, these two lessons are the core of NFTE. It’s why NFTE matters.
It’s been a week since the end of the World Economic Forum in Davos. For NFTE it’s an opportunity to spread our message of entrepreneurship for all youth to new global stakeholders. However, we also have the wonderful opportunity to spend time with key partners, including MasterCard Worldwide, Ernst & Young, and Microsoft.
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.