When Valery came up with the idea for her business Rosealloon as a freshman in a NFTE class she didn’t know if it would succeed and she definitely didn’t know that it would help get her family through some tough times.
She didn’t get a chance to compete in NFTE’s national business plan and pitch competition, but when her father suddenly lost his job he turned to helping his daughter’s business and Rosalloon helped her family through tough financial times
Now she’s finished her college degree and started her professional career — and she’s giving back as a NFTE volunteer.
Valery enrolled in a NFTE class when she was a freshman in high school. She learned the basics of entrepreneurship and she came up with an idea for a unique balloon business: her balloons contained a natural rose inside them and were intended to be given as a romantic gift. She named her business Rosealloon and in time expanded her product line to include other surprising gifts inside a balloon. When asked how these things get inside the balloon, she exclaims, “That’s the magic!”
Although she was pleased to place second in a regional business plan and pitch competition, she could not participate in nationals because her parents felt that she was too young to go to New York to compete. However, she applied the lessons she learned to develop her business and that turned out to be worth a lot more than a trip to New York. When her father lost his job and could not make ends meet, he immersed himself in his daughter’s business and started selling Valery’s unique balloon creations himself. That helped pay the rent and saw the family through some very difficult times.
Valery says that she is forever grateful to NFTE for what it has done for her and for her family. “NFTE didn’t leave me alone. I got ongoing mentorship and guidance,” she recalls. As she continued her business, she won EY’s Youth Entrepreneur of Year award. She also used her NFTE experience on her college applications — and was accepted to The University of Texas with a $25,000 scholarship.
Today, she continues to give back to NFTE, saying that her goal is to inspire other students who come from low-income communities to think with an entrepreneurial mindset and to aim high. She believes everything is possible for those who are willing to work hard for their dreams. Reflecting on the essence of the change that NFTE has made in her life, she says, “My plans are so different now. I understand how to make a business idea a reality.”
“My plans are so different now. I understand how to make a business idea a reality.” — Valery Perez