Kiera found NFTE through an alternative school program for teen moms when she was homeless and struggling to raise a toddler.
In the process of developing her NFTE class project she discovered she had a passion for entrepreneurship and that, in turn, spurred her to become serious about her education again.
Drawing on her own experience going through a scary pregnancy with no health insurance, she developed Feto, an innovative fetal monitor, and built a business around her idea.
She took Feto through NFTE pitch competitions and exhibited at NFTE business expos and showcases, gaining the confidence to advocate for herself — and ultimately finished high school with an acceptance letter from Harvard.
Kiera was struggling when she found NFTE through an alternative school program for teen mothers. She was homeless and raising a toddler, and finishing high school was enough of a hurdle; she wasn’t thinking about college.
Her NFTE class showed her that she had an entrepreneurial mindset and was not only capable of planning a business but able to pitch that idea and win support for it. That not only built her confidence, it re-ignited an ambition to further her education.
Drawing on her experience going through a scary pregnancy without any health insurance, she developed an ultrasonic scanner and an accompanying smartphone app for use during the forty weeks of pregnancy. It was the solution to the worry she had experienced two years earlier during her own pregnancy and it was something that could help the other teen moms in her class.
That idea became her NFTE business and she took Feto, Inc. into NFTE’s business plan competition. Kiera pitched Feto as significantly more advanced than its competitors at the time, which were not yet offering companion apps that could show and explain fetal vital signs. Her device would sync with a phone through a USB connection and could notify expectant mothers if any abnormalities were detected in their baby’s heartbeat, movement patterns, activity/inactivity, and sleeping patterns. And not only would the mom-to-be get a notification, the app could also message her emergency contacts, doctor and hospital.
Although Kiera’s heart rate monitor business was still in the conceptual phase, in the process of building a business plan she had learned some valuable lessons about herself as well as developed a valuable skillset. That business plan project entirely changed her life. She re-engaged with learning and set her sights on completing her education. She took credits at a mainstream high school and the proof that her renewed effort was succeeding came in the form of a college acceptance from Harvard.
Ultimately, it was an offer she declined, after thinking through the realities of being a full-time student while caring for a young child so far from her support network in Florida. But she savored the accomplishment and knew she was definitely on a new path. NFTE had re-activated something she’d already had within her but forgotten.
Now working for City Year and completing her college degree at a university closer to home, Kiera also volunteers for NFTE in an effort to pay it forward to other young people growing up amid challenging circumstances.
“Entrepreneurship is powerful and it is the future. NFTE motivated me daily to face my fears and not to settle for good enough.” — Kiera Wesby