I started working with Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in 2021 as a Speaker. NFTE is an organization that supports High Schoolers towards entrepreneurship. Their students come from a variety of backgrounds from all over the world.
As someone who wanted to work for herself as a teen and lived that reality for many years, I admire this program and wish I had something like this growing up to help me understand things I had made mistakes in learning over the years.
In my first virtual conference with students, I discussed the significance of branding and marketing. The follow-up conversation was about my experience and where I am now, as well as addressing questions about the business models and products they were developing.
There were several brilliant ideas. In India, for example, one student and her mother opened a commerce business selling bags made from recycled materials. Another student considered revamping spoons to make them more economical. The concepts were varied and inventive.
I also served as a judge for their annual competition, and the student who received the most votes from our cohort ended up taking home the grand prize of $10,000 to go toward his plan to unite content creators and businesses under the MdrnMedia umbrella.
This teenager had been studying and perfecting his art since he was a child, and he now had a massive fan base to support his idea.The one thing I can admit is that these kids were far more proficient than I was. I’m glad there are such initiatives now to support the next generation.
For instance, I used my entrepreneurial spirit when I was between the ages of 14 and 16 and used my artistic abilities to earn money. I became known for my skill at braiding hair and soon had a steady clientele. My service business, including working at a salon, netted me at least $500 weekly. But I never would have guessed that these young people would be making such a significant contribution to the advancement of our society with a keen eye and outlook.
It’s true that each new generation improves upon previous ones, and perhaps even outdoes them thanks to the availability of more knowledge and better tools. At this point, in this day and age, there is no excuse; information is available and free.
Every day, Gen Z shocks and amazes me. I admire their unwavering commitment to maintaining their unique identities while also pursuing an understanding of what it means to be really content in life. Everyone’s experience is valuable, but the numerous transitions that are taking place in society with Gen Z, are ones that I can appreciate.