Erica (14) talks about her experience participating in Foróíge's Youth Entrepreneurship programme, NFTE

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Foróige April 10, 2015

Hi, I'm Erica Masterson and I'm fourteen years old. I took part in the Foróige NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship programme. NFTE stands for the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship. The NFTE programme focuses on teaching key business skills and setting up a real, live business.

During my time with the Foróige Youth Entrepreneurship programme, I set up a business called 'School Space Solution'. My main product is a multi-purpose locker shelf which has either an emoji or logo on it. I also sell other school related products. I have set up a dedicated Instagram account called @schoolspacesolution where my products are shown with comments from my customers. My business has done well so far. In my first four months I have sold over 65 locker shelves alone. During the Youth Entrepreneurship programme I have had many great opportunities and experiences. I sold my products during the RDS Craft Fair which not many other students my age would even dream of! I competed in the International NFTE Business Plan Competition and was in the final with a chance of an all expenses paid trip to New York. I went to the Google Headquarters in Dublin where I got a tour and advice from different leaders and business people. Not many people my age would have received such a great opportunity.

I am currently competing in the All Ireland Foróige NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Competition and I am down to the final six! I have learned a lot from the NFTE programme including sales skills, how to set up a business, marketing techniques, etc. But I think the best thing I have learned was to be myself and be more confident as I was very shy before. I would really recommend this programme because it isn't a serious, boring group. It's a fun group that I look forward to attending every time. I loved it! If you are thinking of taking part, I would recommend that you choose a product or service that solves a problem because these are some of the best ideas!

For more information about Foróige's Youth Entrepreneurship programme, see here. The programme can be taught in schools, Foróige Clubs and other youth projects.