As an (almost) eight-year New Yorker, I find that the day-to-day tasks of living in New York, hustling, working and #adulting can cloud your judgement and, on occasion, make you feel a little jaded. Every once in a while, though, I take in how incredible this crazy city is, and how, at every corner, there are people with hearts for service, doing great work and doing even more good. In that same vein, I also take in the people of this city and note that they aren't where they are out of luck, or happenstance. The people who thrive and succeed here do so because they work their asses off. Attending the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Global Showcase this past week was the perfect reminder of both.
The NFTEmission is "to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures." You can read all about their history here!
The Showcase was held at the famous Cipriani space all the way downtown, and the venue was buzzing with energy. With booths set up around the parameter, each “Young Entrepreneur” had the opportunity to share their business idea, sell their product, or share their mission. I saw everything from bracelets made of bamboo from California, to shirts made specifically for break dancers from Hamburg, Germany. And while some of the products were more specific or involved than others, the sense of pride that came from each student was unbeatable.
As a young woman who has successfully co-founded a business, and is currently joining the ranks of another start-up (FashionShow.com), it was such a reminder that nothing beats hard work, dedication to something and a whole lot of hustle. Taking on new and growing business adventures has been a little scary, and has led to some seriously reflection on what I am personally capable of doing. Seeing these young entrepreneur's drive and ambition was a reminder that, in my short time on this earth, I have accomplished quite a bit. However, there is so much more to be done, and I feel like attending this NFTE Showcase lit a fire under me like never before.
As a part of the program, Chelsea Clinton and Troy Carter held an open discussion led by Lee Hawkins of the Wall Street Journal. When asked what his definition of entrepreneurship was, Troy Carter, who attributes his work ethic to watching his mother work early mornings and late nights at Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, said,
“To be an entrepreneur… it takes a lot of resilience. It takes a lot of grit.”
Agreed. What an awesome and timely reminder. If kids from all over the world, with less than ideal circumstances, can thrive through an entrepreneurial mindset... then so can we.