OUR PEOPLE:  Sport and Medical Sciences Academy Students Heading to Boston to Compete in Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship’s New England Regionals in May 2017

OUR PEOPLE: Sport and Medical Sciences Academy Students Heading to Boston to Compete in Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship’s New England Regionals in May 2017

“Where else in high school can a student create an entire business plan, defend and justify it to a panel of experts from the community dressed in their business best under timed conditions?  I’d say my students are ready for what life brings them after graduation”  Sport and Medical Sciences Academy (SMSA) Teacher Anne Nguyen reflects upon the Marketing/Entrepreneurship class she has been teaching in Hartford since 2004. Every single SMSA junior must take and pass class as a graduation requirement.

During the week of December 5th, 2016, 60 students presented their final exam business plans in front of a panel of 3 business people dressed in their business best under timed conditions.  Of the 49 business plans, nine were chosen to present to a panel of six judges from the district and business community.  Of the nine business plans, only three will head to Boston to compete in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) New England Regionals in May 2017 for a chance at cash prizes and opportunities for seed monies and college scholarships.

The presenters of the Top 9 Projects are pictured above on December 5th, 2016.  They include Ty Ellis, Jalyssa Claudio, Nalah Robinson, R.J. Doucette, Destiny Drane, Cryshanna Johnson, Rosa Arini, Cerra Rodriguez, Selma Mrkaljevic, Lyndsey Broxton, Chase Ginsberg, Jessica Beebe and Asia Johnson.

SMSA Students have been to Nationals five times, won 2nd place in the nation in 2010 and have been to the White House to see President Obama twice; once due to the White House Science Fair with an App Business that distinguished itself.  Students have been working on their business plans for the past 15 weeks.  With excitement and, of course, some nervousness students presented stellar products and services.

Student Erna Alic, who won1st Place last year in May of 2016, says, “I can honestly say this is the only class that has prepared me for real life.  I can present an idea, I learned how to network, and I feel like a part of a community.  The NFTE Program will be with me after I leave high school.  We are all on LinkedIn and can continue networking throughout our careers. I am thankful for the opportunity.”

Nat Brinn, an executive from Vital Venture Capital, LLC and one of the business judges comments, “The student presentations of startup businesses were very impressive! As a partner in a venture capital firm, I review 400-500 startup investment opportunities each year so I think that I have a solid basis for comparison. The Sport & Medical Sciences in Academy in Hartford is helping to create the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs. That’s very encouraging for our region. Bravo to Anne Nguyen, the SMSA staff and all of the students involved!”

The Top 3 winners who are headed to Boston in May are:

1st Place:  Lyndsey Broxton  & Chase Ginsberg   PROJECT: Squeezin’ Out Stress
2nd Place:  Selma Mrkaljevic   PROJECT: Naturally Flawless
3rd Place:  Jessica Beebe  & Asia Johnson   PROJECT: Acne Free

The panel of judges, seen here with Tamara Mitchell-Davis, Assistant Director of Career Pathways, Internships and Business Operations, Hartford Public Schools (front row, far left.) includes Jason Giulietti, VP of Business Recruitment,  CT Economic Resource Center, Inc., Diane Beliveau, Major Account Manager, Office Depot, Inc., Robert Wienner, President and Founder, JDA Development Co. LLC, Nat Brinn, Principal, Vital Venture Capital, LLC, and  Tom DeVitto, Chief Marketing Officer, Blum Shapiro.

Diane Beliveau, Office Depot, Inc. says, “I was impressed with the student’s confidence in presenting their business plans.   The power point presentations, financial plan and sample products proved their knowledge in bringing an idea to market.  The skills that they have learned will take them far in their future careers.”

There are 45 more students taking the class for the spring semester.