CCSC’s Student-Entrepreneurs Learn Anything’s Possible

Whiteboard note from a TPP student
Whiteboard note from a TPP student

Whether they dream of launching the next Facebook or hope to find a job at a start-up, today’s high school students are eager to learn the entrepreneurial skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century economy. CCSC is lucky to be located at the epicenter of entrepreneurship, Kendall Square, where hundreds of start-up businesses are competing for talent and funding, and to have MIT’s start-up pipeline flowing right through our neighborhood. So it’s no surprise that every year CCSC students flock to The Possible Project, a nonprofit entrepreneurial training center, to learn what it takes to launch a business.

This spring, 18 CCSC sophomores participated in TPP’s after-school program. At the end of the semester, the students pitched their business plans to a panel of judges from the community. They were assessed on the quality of their business concept and their marketing materials, their understanding of business basics, and their professionalism and presentation skills. Their pitches wowed the judges, according to TPP’s Education Coordinator Julia Hubbell.

Noreen Joseph works on her business plan.
Noreen Joseph works on her business plan at TPP.

“The group received the highest overall average (4.1/5) on their final pitch panel presentations than any group before at TPP.  The judges were blown away by their public speaking skills and clarity, but most impressed with their professionalism. CCSC students generally have a level of maturity that is beyond their years, which translates into their ability to be professional. I think this speaks to what you’re doing over at CCSC and how what is being taught creates more than just great students, but also great young people that are better prepared for life outside of and after high school,” Hubbell wrote in an email to Upper School Principal Chris Cook.

Alia Sandiford with her TPP internship mentor Sol Menashi
Alia Sandiford ’13 and TPP’s Sol Menashi

Most of the CCSC students who participated this spring are returning for TPP’s summer program, where they will keep honing their business plans and marketing strategies. Many students choose to continue on with TPP as juniors and seniors, demonstrating a level of commitment that college admission officers look for in assessing students’ extracurricular resumes. This spring CCSC’s Alia Sandiford ’13 performed her senior internship at TPP with Business Operations Specialist Sol Menashi as her mentor.

Founded in 2010 by Mark and Becky Levin, successful entrepreneurs who wanted to help close the opportunity gap among at-risk teens, TPP does not charge students to participate; in fact, it pays them by the hour to attend the training sessions and invests seed money to help launch their businesses. TPP’s bright and welcoming space just outside Harvard Square doubles as a junior innovation center for business-minded teens, bringing together students from CCSC with mentors from the start-up community and likeminded students from CRLS and PHA. In fact, the Cambridge Innovation Center is a TPP partner, and CCSC’s Charde Hunt, a former TPP participant, interned at the CIC this spring.

Congratulations to the CCSC students who completed Level I training at TPP this spring:

Amira Nwokedi-Iwuala and Lovell Mumford (Good Vibes Apparel)
Beemet Gebreegziabher, Danielle Jordan and Marino Long (City 2 City Tours)
Ahna Jahir (Ujol Henna Designs)
Isaiah Blanco-Evans (I BE Wood)
Gyani Smith (Nature’s Touch Hair Design)
Christina Joseph (Sweet Uprising)
Neika Neptune and Noreen Joseph (Bead-U-Tiful)
Amirah Dottin, Tatiana Dardompre and Thais Marques (Gatsby Event Planning)
Kyla Beckford (Inquire)
Aryanna Cooke and Ayanna Bryant (A2)
Jesus Robles-Garcia (JeckTech Reviews)

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