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Teen Entrepreneurs

Sheena Jindal

TiE Boston has been the most active chapter of TiE. It was the first to launch TiE Young Entrepreneurs in January of 2006. With fewer than 30 students, MIT’s Sloan School was filled with budding entrepreneurs ready to learn the art of business. The ages ranged from 12-17, with some not even in high school. But all had one passion in mind; they wanted to be successful entrepreneurs. Every other Saturday morning we would come to Sloan for four hours. We would listen to an entrepreneur’s story, both success and failure, followed by a lecture regarding sections of a business plan. We would then break into small teams and have 30 minutes to come up with an idea, and then give an elevator pitch  to the mentors and other students.

After three months of these Saturday meetings, we split into teams, no less than two and no more than five. My team had the only four girls and one boy. All teams had a group of mentors, one of the mentors for our team was one of the speakers we listened to.  We would continue to come to Sloan, but now it was every Saturday. The first few weeks were about brainstorming ideas. We would discuss our strengths, weaknesses, interests, and tie them together to come up with potential ideas. The idea soon turned into reality as we started doing research and writing our business plan. Since I go to school in Cambridge already, spending my Saturday there turned out to be much more interesting than five days of school. Being treated like an adult “business person” was an unforgettable and rare experience for a 14 year old.

The pressure started coming on in the end of April, after we found out we would have a “mock presentation”, but the mentors were always there to give advice. All of this coincided with our school affairs. The mock presentation was on May 6th, and was on the same day as the SAT exam which many students were taking, but the presentation went on. Each team presented in front of 5 judges, all were venture capitalists or entrepreneurs. The presentation was followed by several questions from the mock panel and then followed up by valuable feedback.  This was practice for our final presentation on Saturday, June 10th at the Goulston and Storrs law firm on Atlantic Avenue.

A week later, at TiEcon east at the Hynes Convention Center, the winning team was announced and awarded the cash prize. We were on stage for about 20 minutes, as one of the judges spoke about each of the teams strengths and the over all TYE program. Being the “guinea pigs” for the TiE Young Entrepreneurs program, we received a lot of recognition for our hard work, maturity, and intellect.

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