Forget swimming, tennis and basketball. For one group of Miami-Dade students summer is all business. The eight-week intensive camp is run by Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a non-profit dedicated to helping students from low-income communities recognize business opportunities and think like entrepreneurs.
The 20 students (19 from Dade and one from Broward) attend the camp for free thanks to sponsorships by NFTE and Miami-Dade College’s Idea Center and receive advice and mentorship from county leaders. Examples? Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho led a panel discussion on entrepreneurship with the students on June 24, learning more about the ideas being incubated and providing advice on how to pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses and succeed in life, while CareCloud CEO Albert Santalo and Churromania founder Ariel Acosta-Rubio visited the camp in early July.
During the camp students come up with a business idea and work to complete a business plan. Plans are presented to a panel of judges at the end of the camp with winner walking away with seed capital for their idea. This year’s innovations include an app that seeks out scholarships, a video game based in vocabulary skills and a binder that acts as both a pillow and laptop cover.
Camp lessons include everything from supply and demand and opportunity recognition to marketing and return on investment and students regularly visit local businesses and participate in events with local entrepreneurs.
Founded in 1987 by a South Bronx math teacher (and entrepreneur), the NFTE has worked with more than 600,000 young people from around the world and operated in 17 U.S. communities and 10 countries. In South Florida the organization has provided more than 24,000 students with the tools and mindset necessary to prepare for successful futures in school, college and the workforce.