You’re going to get hit with these curveballs. That’s why I encourage you to grow your entrepreneurial mindset and use it. You’ll have to figure out how to problem-solve and pivot, be adaptable, and get back in the game.

—Angela Ivana
  • Angela had planned to work in finance after college, but then the stock market crashed.
  • She pivoted and made her own job by launching a business in another industry.
  • Since then she’s built her business as a makeup artist with clients in film, television and theater — and she’s also launched Cosmosafe, an ed tech startup that will disrupt the beauty education business.
  • She took Cosmosafe through the StartEd Edtech Hyper Accelerator program, then through first-round seed fundraising, and ultimately landed an angel investor from a leading early/growth-stage venture capital firm.

Before Angela started in the NFTE program, she felt that she was doomed “to sit behind a desk for the rest of my life.”

As she explains it, that very thought scared her so much that she started skipping school. She went from being a straight-A student to having a 1.9 GPA. Eventually, she switched to a new high school and, in doing so, she drastically altered her life trajectory.

“I met the NFTE teacher who changed my life,” she says. She clearly recalls being motivated by the first words spoken to her by that teacher, who explained, “In this class, we’re going to teach you business skills, and with them, you can compete in a series of competitions. If you win, we’ll award you some money to start your business.”

A competitive person by nature, Angela was hooked. She immediately signed up and immersed herself in learning everything she could. Her efforts paid off when she qualified to compete in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge that year. She pitched her idea for a catering company – a business she launched early in her high school career and ran successfully through the end of her second year in college. Her client base included some well-known names, such as Bank of America and the American Heart Association.

Once Angela started the NFTE program, she found a new direction and renewed motivation to engage in school. She turned her 1.9 GPA into a 3.5 GPA and got into the National Honor Society. And when she graduated from high school, she went on to study philosophy at Northeastern University.

Angela flourished at Northeastern, and she made plans to enter the finance industry once she got her degree. But, she says, life throws you curveballs sometimes. After she graduated college, the stock market crashed. Going into banking was not an option at that point. No one was hiring. She had to figure out something else fast.

She needed the money, so she took a job a friend offered her at a day spa. There she tapped into her entrepreneurial mindset. As she says, this was the second time that NFTE saved her life. Thinking like an entrepreneur, she saw an opportunity to build herself a new career in a new industry.

“I started to work in this spa,” recalls Angela, “and soon people started to ask me to do their makeup for events. Being a creative person, I gave it a try, and I realized that makeup artistry involves much more than playing around with makeup. It involves color theory and angles and lighting. I became fascinated, and I also realized I could make money as a makeup artist. Eventually, I started a beauty service business and began to work behind the scenes in television and commercials.”

As Angela’s business as a makeup artist grew, she started thinking about the beauty industry overall — and more specifically — how cosmetologists and beauticians are trained. Once again, she saw an opportunity that others might have overlooked, and that was the beginning of her next major business venture: Cosmosafe.

She describes Cosmosafe as an industry-disruptor — a technology platform for beauty industry training that empowers salon professionals to accelerate their careers through more engaging and affordable career education.

Angela continues her beauty work, focusing on diverse productions ranging from print to film. She has worked with such companies as Macy’s, JC Penny and Ralph Lauren.