The Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA) has influenced hundreds of high school students in West Michigan over the course of the past ten years. We recently got in touch with some of our past participants to hear first hand how TESA has impacted their lives.
Kenowa Hills High School
Years participated in TESA: 2015 and 2016
Neu: How did you find out about TESA?
Ravel: How I found out about it is pretty funny. I saw a girl who had a flyer for this thing, and I was like, “Oh, what’s this?” And she said, “Do you want one?” And I said “Yeah.” I took a look at it and said, “oh, TESA, this is interesting.” Freshmen year I was bouncing back and forth, wondering what I wanted to do as a career, and I knew that marketing, entrepreneurship and business was a big part of what I wanted to do. So when I saw the TESA flyer, I was like, “Mom, I’ve got to do this program!” So she signed me up. I have always been interested in marketing and entrepreneurship, so I did the program and it was fantastic.
Neu: You and your group won this year for Time to Get Fresh, a company that would provide fresh food and recipe cards to low income students via the bus system. What was your pitch the first year that you participated?
RB: We (presented an idea for) an after school program that had to do with arts, science, and technology. It was a bus (similar to this year) that would go around to different schools and teach kids for a week how to do different life skills; the first day it was music, the next day photoshop, then the third day was something. It was be over the course of five days and the school would pay money, which would go towards gas and electricity and computers…
Neu: And you guys got second place?
Neu: What has been your favorite part about TESA?
RB: Meeting new people I would never have met in my entire life before. Like you Elyse, Peg, Shorouq, Dr. Tim and Michael and all of these different. And not just the leads, but also the different people in my group–all of these cool people that I never would have gotten to meet before.
Neu: What do you think has been the most valuable thing about TESA?
RB: Being able to express myself and my ideas. I always have these ideas, but knowing how to execute and implement them is the hardest thing. So making a spreadsheet with numbers, learning how to making a SWOT analysis, and everything we learn, all of that is pretty valuable.
Neu: How has TESA most influenced your academic choices?
RB: I attend KCTC, or Kent Career Technical Center. (At KCTC), you pick your class based on what you want to go into as a career, whether it’s HVAC, or nursing or culinary–all of these different programs. I chose entrepreneurship and marketing. I use that–I look back at my TESA slideshow almost everyday to look at the stuff and to see what I can use to bring to the entrepreneurship and marketing class. I am actually going to bring up TESA and see if we can do sort of a mini-TESA inside of our class room, but we have been so busy doing other projects. One of our projects is that we are supposed to design a business and market it and make a slideshow about it and make a logo…all of the things we did for TESA, so I am thinking about bringing TESA into my classroom here.
Neu: That’s great Ravel!
RB: Yeah, I made SWOT Analysis and how to do numbers and all of these things like we did for that week (of TESA).
Neu: That is wonderful! Will you keep us informed about that? We would love to help out.
What would you tell another student about TESA that doesn’t know anything about it?
RB: I would tell them just to go for it. It may seem a little intimidating at first, but if I told someone, “Hey, in a week can you design a logo, do finances, come up with an idea, work with a group you have never met before, and do 20-30 things all in a week?” We basically do 20-30 things a day, if not more, it was just broken up. I would say, “Go for it.” It is something fun, something that once you get over the first day–the first day is a little nervous, but the second half is amazing. You will fall in love with it. I wish I could do a TESA every couple of months–it is that fun.
Neu: Can you sum up TESA in one sentence?
RB: TESA is fun, amazing and impactful, and there is nothing like it.