Written By: Caleb Alexander, 2015 YEScarolina Student Entrepreneur of the Year
To be completely honest, placing in the top 12 at the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition was a huge setback for me. After coming back to Charleston from the competition in New York City, I got stuck in a rut. I had no desire to push forward, and that is not like me. But as an entrepreneur, you have to keep going. You have to find a desire within yourself to hustle through the bad times and find a way to come out on top. So I did.
During the weeks following the competition, I persisted YEScarolina to make me the South Carolina Student Entrepreneur of the Year. This award would allow me to go back to New York City and be featured in the NFTE Global Showcase. With all the persistance, it happened. On October 22nd, at the annual YEScarolina gala, I was named South Carolina Student Entrepreneur of the Year.
5 months later I was off to New York City. During the first night, surrounded by other top young entrepreneurs from around the globe, I was awarded NFTE Global Young Entrepreneur of 2016. The next day I completed the Mastercard Day of Learning. I was given insight into the key principles of branding from Mastercard executives and other leading entrepreneurs. That night I attended the NFTE Global Showcase where I networked with editors of Forbes and the Wall Street Journal; just to name a few.
The peak of the evening was when I had the opportunity to pitch to one of the guest speakers, Troy Carter. As the CEO of the Atom Factory, his talent management firm represents top talent including Meghan Trainor, John Legend, Charlie Puth, and formerly Lady Gaga. I am excited to say that I have a meeting scheduled with him next month.
With all of this said, my experience attending the Global Showcase represents what entrepreneurship is truly all about; turning setbacks into triumphs. This course has truly changed my life and I will continue to do as much as I can to support it. I wish so many others would do the same.