There is no such thing as a small idea.

—Andres Cardona
  • Andres hit a low point in high school when his family went through some hard times.
  • He was a good student and a talented athlete but considered dropping out to get a job. NFTE showed him another way.
  • He already had the passion and determination to succeed, but through NFTE he acquired the business skills he needed.
  • Most importantly, he learned how to recognize an opportunity. He saw a way to turn his love for basketball into a thriving business that could help support his family.
  • In 2017, Florida’s governor presented him with the state’s Young Entrepreneur Award.
  • His company grew to serve almost 500 students, employ 20 people in his community, and generate seven-figure annual revenue.

Andres grew up with a single mother who struggled just to keep her family afloat. At 14 years old, he had a lot of ambition to provide for his mother and sister but didn’t know how.

The kinds of success stories he’d heard – of someone creating an app and making millions or tapping their parents to pay for college and fund a business – weren’t relatable to him.

Then Andres took a NFTE course, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it changed his life. He learned about business financials and saw exactly how to plan and launch a profitable business. He also learned about professionalism, public speaking, and networking – skills that could apply to all areas of his life.

In his words, “NFTE made me feel important.” He was suddenly surrounded by a whole NFTE community – teachers, program staff, volunteers, mentors, and peers – who all wanted to hear his story, who believed in him and wanted to see him succeed. One incredible NFTE mentor in particular lit the spark by asking a simple question that would completely reframe his way of thinking: if you didn’t have to make money to pay the bills, what would you love to do every day?

According to Andres, “there’s no such thing as a small idea” because that simple question led him to a small idea that grew and grew.

But while his love for basketball inspired his business idea, he couldn’t have succeeded without the skillset he learned from NFTE and his own perseverance. Starting small, working hard and working smart led to his success.

His Elite Basketball Academy grew to serve almost 500 young people. What started as one-on-one coaching and personal training for youth in the Miami metro area is now a thriving business with 20 employees, generating seven-figure revenue annually.

In 2013, when he was still a teenager, Andres represented NFTE at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year event in Monte Carlo. In 2017 he was named Young Entrepreneur of Florida by Governor Rick Scott. Since then, he has continued to grow his business.

Despite all the success he has enjoyed, he didn’t forget about his original goal. Andres bought his mother a new home and is happy to fulfill his promise to provide for his family.