Thursday November 1, 2018

Every generation has unique challenges when it comes to the new economy. Our economy and landscape of our world has been changing so rapidly that it can be extremely challenging to keep up, and it can be even more challenging finding the right way to go about living a life in this terrain. The landscape of this economy is so different that it’s full scope is not even understood, much less taught to the next generations. So how do we bridge that gap?

We are in the best time to be an Entrepreneur that the world has ever seen. The opportunities are endless and marketing and advertising can be done very affordable. You don’t need massive amounts of start up money and you can start making some kind of money in a lot of fields right away.

The trouble is navigating the waters of entrepreneurship. There are SO MANY choices that you can make and a million ways you can go about starting your business. On top of that there are endless amounts of ways you can enter the market. So where do you start? Especially if you are a teenager with a tenacity for business?

This is what Kat Schulte, Jerin Mece and Vinod Varma wanted to explore with Start-Up New West; a beta program that took high school students from a business idea to the marketplace. And the students thrived! We took on 15 students, which in true business fashion, dwindled to 7 people and then we had 3 finalists that pitched to a panel of judges for a grand prize! We wanted to teach the next generations of entrepreneurs how to start a business.

The students were taught, idea generation in an area that excited them, how to build a micro business plan, how to tell people about what they do and why they do it, and finally how to pitch to potential investors. We taught them the skills of entrepreneurship that you don’t learn in school, you learn by experience.

The students that were involved were Aira Torres; Future Fashion Icon, Joshua Lopez Plechaty; Future Gaming Mogul, Giselle Whittaker; Future Trend Setter & Party Queen, Madelyne Lemieux; Future Wonder woman, Michael Mira-Lopez; Future Comedic Icon, Erik Fischer; Future Famous Photographer (all photos in this article were taken by Erik) and Irene Parlati; Future Top Chef.

This group of rock stars were still in high school during the program and they committed 5 months, on top of working, on top of school work, into this program. Our 3 finalists were Aira Torres, who won the top prize of $4000 and Incorporation for her business. The two runner ups were Joshua Lopez Plechaty and Giselle Whittaker, who both won $500 for their businesses. The grand prize went to Aira for her great presentation and micro-business plan but trust me, every single one of these students have acquired skills that they can take into their life in any area that they pursue. And every single one of them deserve all that is coming their way and more. They have been amazing to work with. Smart, kind, respectful. Even the students that didn’t continue through the whole program. I am so proud of this generation. Their creativity and maturity has been inspiring. Students especially just need the encouragement and the skills.

We need to create future disruptors that keep making our world more interesting, more joyous and more encouraging for every future generation. Because they are the future, and the happier they are, the happier the world is.

The students had to pitch to a panel of judges who knew nothing about them or their business, they of course WOW’d our judges and earned the interest and respect of some amazing entrepreneurs.

We had so much support putting this beta program together. Our investors, Erick Factor; Serial Entrepreneur and Harpreet (Happy) Nahal; Licensed Attorney donated the funds and their time for the students. And our panel of judges was made up of three amazing entrepreneurs; Karm Sumal CEO and Co-Founder of Daily Hive, Catherine Chick CIO of Mitacs and Julius Makarewicz CEO of Nude Vodka Soda. They asked the students amazing questions, engaged with their business idea’s and encouraged them in the best way!

Being an entrepreneur is not just fun, it’s a community of people that care about what they do, and what they give back. Cheers to the #futuredisruptors and the Future change makers, we all can’t wait to see what you are going to do for and with the world, and believe me, you can!

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