On October 6th, 2016, Malachi Smith of Thornwood High School will be heading to New York City to compete in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. He earned this spot in the NFTE National business plan competition by winning 2nd place in the Chicago Metro Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on May 17th, 2016.
“I was just thinking, ‘Man, I did it! NYC here we come! Let’s get this W!’.
Like Deandre Allen, the other Chicago Metro National competitor, Malachi has never been to New York City. Both will have to opportunity to enjoy their first time to New York as tourists, but both are focused on their main goal, winning the $25,000 venture grant for 1st place.
Malachi will be working hard all summer in preparation to present his business plan for a memory preservation company called Mini Me Figurines. His company will help its customers preserve their most precious memories in 3-D figurines that are modeled after the likeness of their subjects.
“My idea is important to me because my product applies to everyone, everyone has something important to them they want to preserve forever. I also know that my product can be therapeutic for some customers through preserving a personal connection with a loved one who passed away.”
The pitch environment seems a natural fit for Malachi, who embarked upon an acting career at the age of five. His presentation is very animated and visual, his style impeccable, and his enthusiasm tangible. He is eager to speak to as many people as will listen about his ventures, and he is comfortable on stage. In fact, it seems that he thrives on stage, actually stating that he finds it to be fun to present to a large audience!
Though he is confident in his idea, Malachi sees himself as an entrepreneur beyond the scope of this project. “NFTE has added to my life in reaffirming my entrepreneurial plans, sharpening my presentation skills, and by providing me with great networking opportunities. Before taking the class I had plans of being an entrepreneur but no confidence in my entrepreneurial skills. This competition has completely changed that around.” He wants to take these skills forward in his life to make sure that he breaks the cycle of complacency that he sees affecting the people of his neighborhood. He has promised himself that he will always be motivated to achieve more.
We know that it can be hard to be asked to find your passion as a high school student, but NFTE doesn’t necessitate that you hone in on your one passion. Our curriculum teaches students skills that can be a framework for any passion. Malachi seems to understand that value of his NFTE course, and is open to see where his entrepreneurial mindset and skills may take his future. With that attitude we know we will see big things from Malachi both at finals, and in life.
Stay tuned for updates on the journey to the NFTE National Entrepreneurship Challenge and other successes form our inspiring young entrepreneurs.