By Liz Schuering,
As we gear up for the start of the business plan competition season, our students are benefiting from the knowledge and expertise of the amazing volunteers serving as business plan coaches.
Volunteers play an essential role in helping our NFTE teachers bring classroom materials to life, serving as both sounding-board and advisor to students as they work to finalize the details of their business plans and presentations. By working closely to partner with businesses and entrepreneurs in our local communities, NFTE is able to foster a hands-on approach to learning about business and entrepreneurship for our students. Students benefit from the real-world knowledge of our business plan coaches and are encouraged to start thinking more critically and strategically about their ideas and what it takes to run a successful business.
Business plan coaching sessions are some of the most rewarding and beneficial experiences for our students, teachers, and volunteers, as was the case with a recent coaching session for NFTE students from Chicago Tech Academy, a STEM-focused high school in the University Village neighborhood of Chicago, hosted by DRW Trading Group, a long-time NFTE Chicago supporter and partner.
The students, many of whom are in the process of developing technology-related business plans, had the opportunity to sit down with coaches from DRW’s IT and software development teams, and were able to walk away from this unique and very special experience having gained new insights on their business plans from a group of incredibly smart and talented individuals, including several individuals who had personally built and sold apps of their own.
Reflecting on the day, our volunteers had great things to say about the students and the experience. One volunteer commented, “It was great working with the students. They had put a ton of effort into their business plans, and I enjoyed the fact they used an idea that they were passionate about. Just having the opportunity to encourage someone to pursue the things they enjoy doing and expanding on their ideas was great fun.”
If you are individual or organization interested in working with NFTE, we encourage you to lend your time and expertise to our students in the classroom! Take it from a volunteer: “It was a pleasure getting to collaborate with these smart, motivated, and enthusiastic young people on their business plans. The future of entrepreneurship in Chicago is looking bright!”