“Everyone I met through NFTE believed in me. I had already started running my business, but NFTE gave me a different trajectory. It showed me I could be so much bigger.

—MATEO “Mathew” Galvez
  • Mathew developed a “personal brand” and a street fashion business that earned him over $25,000 a year while still in high school.
  • He says NFTE brought relevance to a “broken” school system, gave him a love of learning, and made him confident that anything is possible.
  • Now in college, he’s working as a data analyst and small business consultant while also running his company and continuing to expand his brand.
  • Read his story and watch a video on Latin Business Today.

When Mathew found the NFTE class offered at his school, he was intrigued.

Inspired by what he learned, Mathew developed a personal lifestyle brand – Lotta Worldwide – that gained a sizable following and earned him over $25,000 a year in his first year.

Mathew says his first NFTE class was a life-changing moment for him in a number of ways. He describes it as a dramatic confidence builder, giving him a sense that anything is possible for anyone willing to do the work.

What was one of the most transformational aspects of the experience? He says it was that “everyone I met through NFTE believed in me. I had already started running my business, but NFTE gave me a different trajectory. It showed me I could be so much bigger.” Understanding the fundamentals of pitching a business was a vital skill for him to learn, and it was with NFTE that he did so. That has made all the difference.

A program director in the NFTE West region became Mathew’s mentor and took him under his wing, connecting him to internship opportunities and introducing him to well-connected people who have helped take Mathew to new levels.

Moreover, Mathew says, it was through NFTE that he developed a love of learning. Before getting involved with the program, Mathew had felt the school system he was in was broken, that it was failing him and his peers because what they were being taught did not seem relevant. NFTE entrepreneurship brought that relevance and real-world perspective that had been missing into the classroom and, in doing so, ignited Mathew’s curiosity. He realized the value of what he was learning and became hungry for more.

Mathew went on to attend San Francisco State University. While pursuing his degree, he worked as a Junior Data Quality Analyst for Docusign and as a small business consultant. Now he is a Member Operations Specialist at Gusto, an HR solutions platform. Of course, he continues to run Lotta Worldwide as Founder and President.

“I am passionate about owning my future,” Mathew says. “I’ve read that to be a millionaire you need seven revenue streams, and I am well on my way!”

In 2019, he was interviewed by Shopify in an article titled Community and Competition: Inside the Mind of a 19-Year-Old Founder. He described how entrepreneurship empowers people: “I definitely think that entrepreneurship is a way out of the struggle. You’re not broke, you’re just in a bad situation where you could have the opportunity of making it happen for yourself. So I definitely think you have to have a strong mindset. You can’t be afraid. You have to be a person who’s willing to take a risk.”

(Photo sources: NFTE, Lotta Worldwide & Shopify)