The Greater Newark Enterprises Corp. (GNEC) held its first Summer Entrepreneurship Institute in partnership with the Frank J. Guarini School of Business at Saint Peter’s University in 2022 for several area high schools.
The institute, sponsored by Wells Fargo, was held July 11 to July 21 with a focus on idea generation, marketing, financials and business planning.
GNEC Executive Director Victor Salama hosted 18 high students from West Orange High School, Weequahic High School, Jose Marti STEM Academy, St. Peter’s Prep, Hudson Catholic Regional High School, Weehawken High School and Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School.
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“Wells Fargo is a proud supporter of the Summer Entrepreneurship Institute because we believe there is a growing need for students to have access to trusted experts who can teach them the process of learning by doing, whether it’s creating a business plan, writing a budget or developing a compelling pitch,” said Tomas Porturas, senior social impact and sustainability specialist at Wells Fargo. “Each of these students were here to invest in their own futures, but by participating in this program, they were also investing in the future of our communities and our local economies here in northern New Jersey.”
Students developed business ideas and pitched them during the last meeting of the course, when pitch day guests were given a chance to fictionally invest in the concepts.
“The GNEC-Saint Peter’s Summer Entrepreneurship Institute was a great success, providing hands-on practical learning and inspiring the next generation of innovators, change-makers, and problem-solvers, and plans are already underway to hold the Institute in 2023,” said KPMG Dean of Frank J. Guarini School of Business Mary Kate Naatus.
The three teams that garnered the highest level of interest from pitch day guests were awarded cash prizes of $1,000, $750 and $500. Students who completed all coursework receive three college credits from Saint Peter’s University.
“At GNEC, we believe that helping entrepreneurs grow economically stable businesses is critical to closing the racial funding gap, and that’s why we provide capital and resources to businesses from underbanked and underserved communities,” said Salama. “Investing in our communities’ youth early on is the first step in reaching that larger goal.”