Andres Cardona
Elite Basketball Academy
Miami, Florida
NFTE Class of 2010

Andres Cardona excels at basketball. Unfortunately, his community offers few basketball leagues for young athletes, and personal training is too expensive for most families. With such limited options for kids to hone their basketball skills, Andres decided it was up to him to provide an affordable, quality alternative.
 
“The difference between my business and that of my competitors is that we don’t just ‘coach,’ we focus on our athletes individually,” says Andres. “We give every single client our undivided attention, which allows us to build long lasting relationships that extend beyond the basketball court.”
 
Furthermore, Andres recognizes a direct correlation between the discipline that is necessary on the court and the work ethic that informs academic success. He has made it a point to stress that with his charges, who are at risk of spending more time on the street than in the classroom. “I explain to them that having athletic talent is not enough to be successful; they must strive to attend college,” says the Florida International University student. “With the acceptance of academics, they step in through the doors of infinite opportunity.” 
 
About the time he started the NFTE course, Andres’s mother lost her job. Though she never asked him for help, he knew she needed it. When he couldn’t find a job either, he decided to create one. He took a personal inventory of his knowledge, strengths, weaknesses, and experience, and ultimately saw the wisdom in following his passion. “After days of thinking about other businesses and really critiquing their chance of success, I came to the conclusion that I should only launch a business where I knew I was going to love what I was doing, regardless of its profitability or demanding work hours.” 
 
Among other things, Andres has learned he has a gift for motivating people. “They tell me how much they enjoy coming to the academy, how they are much healthier and in better physical shape than ever before, and that they are glad I continue to push them beyond their limits.”  He has also found that being an entrepreneur helps take fear out of his train of thought. “It allows you to voice opinions even when they are unpopular ones. Thinking like an entrepreneur helps you see problems for what they truly are: opportunities.”
 
“If you can believe it, you can fulfill it.”