The NFTE St. Louis summer BizCamp took place in 2014, in part thanks to the donations we received through GlobalGiving. Your contributions aided 34 young local entrepreneurs as they developed the skills necessary to compete in the modern workforce. Employers need dynamic, flexible and creative workers – the skills and mindsets that entrepreneurship teaches. Young people who learn to think like entrepreneurs will be more productive and more employable. Our two-week, intensive business program allowed students to take classes in entrepreneurship and create their own businesses. Each student team then had to come up with a fully detailed plan for how to grow and market their business, putting the lessons learned during the BizCamp into action right away. Thanks in part to your GlobalGiving donations (and the support of our corporate partner, MasterCard), our St. Louis camp was a smashing success.At the St. Louis Science Center, the 34 students who had gone through the BizCamp had the chance to present the plan for their new business venture to a panel of local entrepreneurs and community leaders. Emerging from the competition were two winners, both chosen to represent NFTE St. Louis in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge at the National Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. Jordan H. of McCluer South Berkeley High School took first place with his business NeoStrings, a magnetic shoelace. Coming in second was Joschula P. of McKinley Classical Leadership Academy, who pitched UnPlugged, a wearable technology designed to allow individuals to recharge their phones through wristbands. Jordan and Joschula won $500 and $350 respectively to help build their businesses as they honed their pitches before the National Challenge that fall. Both worked with their BizCamp mentors to help ready their businesses, with both also focusing on developing working prototypes to impress the national judges.In October, Jordan and Joschula presented at the National Challenge. Though neither walked away with the grand prize of $25,000, Jordan did win $2,500 in the Elevator Pitch Challenge, which went to the student who produced the best thirty second pitch video. The marketing skills he learned in his BizCamp went to good use as he fashioned an effective ad for his NeoStrings, and was able to secure the most votes in an online competition. He was the second straight St. Louis student to win the award at the National Competition. Even so, Jordan indicated that the experience was worth more than his winnings. “It’s not even about winning,” Jordan said. “I’m getting the opportunity to learn how to grow a business.” Along with Joschula, he and the other 32 students at the 2014 NFTE St. Louis BizCamp had the opportunity to do just that thanks to your donations. We appreciate your support through the GlobalGiving platform.
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