Innovation Ecosystem

Winner from NFTE biz plan competition shares her story

What it feels like to take the stage in a business plan competition with an innovative business model as a high school student

Photo courtesy of Chloe Moers

Chloe Moers, who won her school district's NFTE business plan competition and will be competing in the New England regional competition in May.

Image courtesy of Chloe Moers

The title page from Chloe Moers slide deck in her winning business plan competition.

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By Chloe Moers
Posted 4/22/19
A teenage entrepreneur who won her school district’s NFTE business plan competition shares her experience.
As yoga and mindfulness become part of the mainstream approach to preventive healing, what other arts of healing should be considered part of a more holistic approach? How important is the relationship with animals in helping to heal people who have been scarred by trauma? How many people who own pets carry on regular conversations with them? What can be learned from the fact that a business plan competition winner chose an alternative pipeline to entrepreneurship?
For those who participate in the Twitter sphere, one trend that seems to be emerging is the sharing of photos of pets by folks in the workplace, such as the dogs and cats frequently shared by employees of Kaiser Health News. It reflects the fact that pets are becoming more welcome in the workplace, as a sign of health.
A second trend is the way that some have used tweets of pets to mediate heavy doses of politics in the news: pets that have been redacted, for instance, in the wake of the redacted Mueller Report, championed by @anamariecox.
The changing work environment reflects, perhaps, a changing definition of work, one that welcomes the idea of families, children and pets as part of the living/learning equation, different than the corporate definition of workspace.

PROVIDENCE – Microphone on, check. Slide show memorized, check. Remember to make eye contact, check.

Months of preparation, of rewriting, rewording, rethinking, redoing; practice, practice, and practice.

From October 2018, until April 2019, all for this one day which can affect my whole life.

“You’re on.”

Walking up those three single stairs to an empty stage does not sound like a big deal. Being only two feet off the ground but with 200 pairs of eyes staring at the one person on the stage and having nothing but a clicker and my thoughts, however, is terrifying.

Not remembering how to breathe

Fifteen, 20 seconds go by still not breathing but suddenly it hits me. No time to gasp for breath now, everyone can hear. Time to play it off. I keep speaking, more forcefully to allow more oxygen to enter my nervous brain. My mind is blank, my heart is racing. Thank god I memorized the words that were being spit out.

I want to win
Then it hit me: I was not smiling, no, too serious, but I want to win and so I put a smile on my face and sound sincere.

Playing the role of an actor, I know who I am, my business, my pitch, all of it. Yet it is all staged and planned. Yes, I am an animal communicator. Yes, I am a certified reiki master. Yes, I do animal reiki. Yes, I have been doing this for awhile.

“No, I am not scared,” I tell the 200 pairs of eyes and ears, most of which do not believe me.

Four minutes speaking, three minutes of question and answer.

All goes as planned. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Fake it ‘til I make it. My business is genuine; I genuinely love animals. I genuinely want to devote my life to loving and understanding them but being up on that stage trying to prove myself over and over again hurts.

I have accepted and proven myself to me and countless others. Now it is time to put myself in a position yet again to be judged and gazed at, a specimen – yet instead of a cage, it is on a stage.

No regrets

Now, I do not regret it. I won the competition; I am going to New England Regionals for NFTE. I got one of the 30 places against 1,500 other New England students. I was awarded $500 and I received an incredible opportunity for a job after high school.

That look on my face when I won was all smiles, all excitement, no fear and no fakeness. Winning is not everything, it is only a temporarily title, and so I tell myself, “This too shall pass.”

Chloe Moers, a 17-year-old high school student in Providence, is a frequent contributor to ConvergenceRI. Her business is Magenta Sun Healing and Awakening.

Editors’s Note: The New England regional competition for Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship [NFTE] will take place at Babson College on May 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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