By Christine Poorman, NFTE Chicago  Executive Director
Last week, NFTE Chicago’s E-Council  hosted its Back to School, Back to Business Benefit at 1871 , Chicago’s newest, biggest and most-talked-about business incubator. With over 200 entrepreneurs and business leaders present, the fun-filled night allowed attendees to interact with NFTE students and learn about ways to support NFTE’s efforts in the its classrooms. Cocktails, hors d’oeurvres, a silent auction, and music spun by a Chicago DJ kept the party lively and the guests extremely entertained.
The evening’s speaking program included alumni remarks by NFTE Chicago’s own, Zoe Damacela, who spoke passionately about the keystone entrepreneurial value - using one’s own talents and dreams to build business. Zoe also introduced the evening’s keynote speaker - Emerson Spartz , CEO of Spartz Media. Emerson talked about his childhood passion for reading and his development, at the young age of 12, of www.mugglenet.com  - the most successful Harry Potter fansite to date. Emerson impressed the crowd with his entrepreneurial spirit and his plans to change the world “in a big way” through a digital platform. Very inspiring!
The success of this year’s Back to School, Back to Business Benefit was largely due to the thoughtful planning of NFTE Chicago’s E-Council – unfailing advocates of our work, our students and our teachers. The E-Council secured the location, sponsors, silent auction gifts, and most importantly new followers to NFTE’s fold by asking their friends and colleagues to join the party. The evening was a fantastic illustration of the collective power held by NFTE volunteers and supporters --- those passionate leaders working on NFTE’s behalf to spread the word on the importance of entrepreneurship education in transforming the landscape of education and keeping young people on a path to high school graduation and post-secondary success in Chicago and around the globe.