No Sense Crying Over Spilled Nail Polish
NEW YORK, NY - The idea for 17-year-old Abigail Lewis to develop and launch a revolutionary new nail polish applicator called the Scribbler, came after constantly cleaning up spilled nail polish. Fifteen year old Jasmine Lawrence was inspired to start her aromatherapy and bath salts oils business Eden Body Works two years ago as a way to help repair her hair that was badly damaged following a chemical perm.
Today, several major retail chains have contacted Lewis to discuss production and Lawrence is in negotiations with Wal Mart to sell her line of products in its stores nationwide.
Lewis and Lawrence are among students from around the country, as well as from Africa, Belgium, China, El Salvador, England, Germany, and Ireland, who acted on their big ideas turning inspiration into business success. They will participate in a business expo and awards program as part of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) 14th Annual Salute to the Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards Dinner in New York City, April 18, 2007.
Each of the aspiring entrepreneurs, who range in age from 13-25 and whose businesses range from retail, fashion, computer manufacturing, to web design and community philanthropy, will receive a cash prize ranging from $750-$1000 for their start-up businesses or college education.
The young entrepreneurs are all graduates of NFTE, an international nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurship to young people from mostly inner city, low-income communities so they can become economically productive members of society. Founded in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, former New York City public school teacher, it originally began as a dropout prevention and academic performance improvement program for students who were at risk of failing or quitting school. Today, NFTE, with the financial support of such sponsors as The Goldman Sachs Foundation and OppenheimerFunds, has grown into a comprehensive business education program in 25 states and 13 countries with more than 150,000 graduates.
NFTE’s entrepreneurship education program helps turn students’ “street smarts into business smarts” by teaching the business skills they need to start their own small business, while reinforcing basic academic skills. NFTE founder Steve Mariotti says, “Many neighborhoods are filled with talented children who just need help finding their talents. NFTE’s goal is to give young people the skills and confidence to unlock their true potential, so they can improve their lives and their communities.”
Through NFTE, students learn how to create a business plan, keep books, and master other business fundamentals. During NFTE training, students develop a business plan, and may get the opportunity to work with a mentor to hone their business plans or get advice on launching their business, and provide the confidence to follow their entrepreneurial desires.
What is perhaps most amazing about the entrepreneurship movement that’s sweeping the country today, said Mariotti, is the number of young people who are opting to start their own businesses before they even get their high school diplomas, as well as the student’s commitment to giving back to their communities.
Research shows that NFTE’s program has a strong and positive impact on many of its graduates. A study conducted by Harvard University Graduate School of Education indicates that youth entrepreneurship programs such as NFTE are particularly effective at keeping students from low-income urban backgrounds on the academic track and can be a significant force in driving them toward high achievement and leadership.
Further, a recent study conducted by Brandeis University has shown that when compared to a control group, NFTE graduates are 30 times more likely to start their own businesses, and they are 20 times more knowledgeable about entrepreneurship and basic business concepts.
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