Future Entrepreneur Challenge — Meet Student Max
There are plenty of standout students in Harmony Plus and Max is one of them. Driven by a desire to gain knowledge, Max is a hard worker and displays natural leadership talent. Coupled with his passions for business, Max is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) at his high school. FBLA helps high school students prepare for careers in business through academic competitions (FBLA Competitive Events), leadership development, and educational programs. Max has placed second in one of these competitions! So when Max took part in the FEC with these experiences and passions, he and his team were set up to be successful.
Designed for middle and high school students, FEC teaches students what it takes to start a business. They receive instruction and mentorship from experienced professionals and entrepreneurs who help them develop real products and business models. Students work in teams to develop a pitch deck, which they then present to a panel of Silicon Valley investors. This challenge was perfect for someone like Max, who has dreams of being in business. For his business, he worked with a teammate to come up with a service related to depression help. While this might sound serious, it’s a very real topic for students and young people. Max was particularly inspired to choose this topic by close friends and his brother, who have all dealt with depression and anxiety. Since he knew what it felt like to be helpless when trying to help someone, he shared his passion and idea with his FEC group. The group held a vote and the depression topic won over a small tech company idea.
With their idea chosen, the team still had to decide how their service would work. The team had lots of interesting discussions since they all had diverse and extensive ideas to share. Max noted that one pain point the team had to work through was how to integrate the service function between doctors and users or users and users. The team had initially thought of creating a product instead of a service. But they quickly realized that their product would have a lot of complexities, such as how to get users to use it if they aren’t already using something similar. With that in mind, they decided to go for a service, which would provide more accessibility. To create their service, one team member wanted to try an AI idea but creating AI is expensive and requires a lot of data, which may cause issues. Another teammate had an idea for trying a facetime-type service, but that was not a unique idea. Instead, Max and the team took both ideas and combined them to create a user to user platform that would allow them to collect data and be accessible.
As the team worked on their project, they encountered many challenges. One particular challenge they faced was trying to make their system unique. Since there are many other companies already on the market providing a similar user to user interface, the team had to get creative. Max worked with them to find a marketing strategy that displayed their uniqueness, which was based on faster service, monitoring, and efficiency. But a new challenge arose in keeping those uniquenesses integrated with their product. The team had observed that their features are often not implemented well and with the delicate nature of their topic, the team wanted to make sure it was a safe space. Their solution was to integrate a doctor AI into the interface so that the doctors could have access to the messages if a patient needed intervention.
Once their product and business plan were ready, the team had to present them to the panel. Though the team worked well together, it was still a team and overall difficult to manage at times. Some things were put off until the end, like preparing for the presentation. Max and the team split up the presentation, to make it easier to prepare as well as let members focus on their interests. For example, Satali was interested in the problem, Max was interested in the solution, Jonathan preferred the finance side of things, while Oliver worked on the prototype. By breaking up the presentation this way, they were able to pitch effectively by not overwhelming one person. While their result was desirable, they did go over time a bit. Through working so closely with his team, Max learned all about teamwork and leadership, as well as the patience and perseverance needed to do it. His final takeaway was that leadership doesn’t mean one person only, but each person on a team contributing. While Max displayed great leadership throughout this project, his team helped create the pieces of one bigger picture.
Completing the FEC program taught Max a great deal. In particular, he found the consumer and users/customer part the most interesting and beneficial. As the sort of person who likes to interact with people, Max loved being able to interview people and seeing how he could help solve their problems. He was then able to use the interview to help his team create their product, which was rewarding for him. Another part of FEC that Max enjoyed was the finances and funding. Although he doesn’t usually care for numbers, Max likes organization so this part of the course filled his need for order. Max also loved how the instructor, Massi, brought his insight and teaching to these topics. Massi explained things clearly, while letting the students think in abstract terms with implications through a business lens. His lessons always had a theme and a practical reason for why he was teaching them, something Max found helpful as he worked through the challenge.
Though Max remains part of FBLA, he finds FEC different. Where FBLA is very flexible and has an open environment, no actual concepts are taught — it’s about self-learning and making your own path. But FEC is more structured and teaches concepts, which is beneficial especially for beginning entrepreneurs. FEC is about teaching the necessary elements to become a successful entrepreneur. For Max, FEC was a big eye-opener that helped him grow his business knowledge and interest immensely. It gave him practical applications and cemented his desire to work in the business field. If a student out there is considering an entrepreneurial path, Max suggests doing both FEC and FBLA, as the two pieces synergize well together. They work so well together that Max has introduced Harmony Plus into his school FBLA club, where he is the leader.
Max’s success with FEC is a perfect example of how Harmony Plus courses can elevate a child’s education. Though he knew business, the course still helped him to improve his skills, while exposing him to new challenges. If your child is looking for their next challenge, consider Harmony Plus so they can succeed to new heights!