After Forbes’ report about my investment in Sweet (dis)Solve at NFTE’s 2011 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, I received overwhelming responses from fans and readers. A good portion of the comments were expressions of appreciation, whereas a huge portion were remarks about how they’re glad to see that I’m involved with a program that supports inner-city kids of low-income families. Some people expressed how they felt that it’s unfair that companies often overlook the void to invest in the needed demographic. Their comments made me take a step back to re-evaluate why it’s being said.
Thinking about it, too many criticisms are made about companies who don’t help out the ones who need help, yet no praises are given to them when they do. With that said, allow me to enlighten you with some notable companies who shared the stage with me that night so that we give credit where credit is due and tip our hats off to them, too.
Imagine yourself sitting alongside a panel of entrepreneurs from MasterCard, E*Trade, GlobalHue, Coca-Cola, HappyBaby and Buzz Marketing Group. Now picture the reason why you’re sitting there; it’s to judge realistic business plans created by the youth where MasterCard donates $10,000 to the winner, $5000 to second place winner and $3500 to third place; Ron Garrow, the Global Head, Global Talent Acquisition Management & Development of MasterCard Worldwide co-hosts the event; Samsung donates a laptop; Tina Wells of Buzz Marketing Group offers to help Hayley Hoverter’s marketing campaigns; Donald A. Coleman CEO of GlobalHue surprises the grand prize winner with $5000 towards her business.
Now put yourself in my shoes during the NFTE challenge. I was surrounded by people who were just so willing to give and was swept right into the tide. You bet that the whole room was filled with such a feel-good aura! What happened at NFTE’s 2011 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is how entrepreneurship begins. Here we all are, both small and large companies, embracing the essence of entrepreneurship by being there and investing in business plans created by NFTE’s students.