The coolest part of the evening was business plan expo set up outside of the ballroom where the regional high school business plan winners from all over the world (including China, New Zealand, and Israel) were showing off their products and talking about their business plans. Their business ideas included rugby lessons, cream pies (which I sampled and were delicious), personal stylist services, hand painted sneakers, and home made lemonade. They were SO excited to get a free trip to NYC to show off their work.
Then the dinner began. While we ate our appetizers, some of the kids talked on stage about what they had gained from their NFTE experience. It was very well done with dramatic lighting and well rehearsed speeches. Then all of the kids came on stage and Magic Johnson (the special guest) joined them and gave some advice (he is an entrepreneur, apparently, real estate) and posed for pictures. That was also cool.
Then we ate dinner which was not super delicious, but perfectly acceptable since my ticket was free (except for the huge donation I made as a board member, of course.) After dinner, the program involved a lot of grown ups which was not quite as inspiring. Teachers got some awards (go teachers! I was just tired from my work schedule combined with 1 1/2 glasses of wine) and some local finance entrepreneurs were honored for “advancing entrepreneurship education.” One of them, unfortunately, went on and on about how amazing our country is and how much opportunity there is to build your own business here when clearly, the evening was about kids from all over the world. I wanted someone to take his award back for being such a dufus.
I almost fell asleep at the table during part duex but overall the event was great. I really love what NFTE is doing and I believe it can change kids lives. Still glad to be a part of it all (and to get away from my desk for an evening!) Read more about NFTE and the Dare to Dream Awards dinner here.