Dare to Dream: Teenage Social Entrepreneurs

Hayley Hoverter is a powerful, passionate and incredibly inspiring social entrepreneur who has come up with a solution for the major problem of paper waste facing the globe. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper waste accounts for 40% of landfills in the America alone. So Hayley’s idea to make soluble sugar packets to distribute to coffee and shops such as Starbucks world-wide was seen as a winner at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) annual National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge this October.

Haley presented her idea at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge and her social entrepreneur thinking ensured that she won the whole competition. Only 32 students from around the U.S. made the semi-finals. Twenty-five thousand students competed throughout the country for the chance to win $10,000 to take their business to the next level. The Challenge is all about nurturing a different type of “apprentice.”

The NFTE aims to provide programs which inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognise business opportunities and to plan for successful futures. According to this organisation the U.S. is experiencing a “drop-out” crisis, where every 29 seconds an American student drops out of high school. Unfortunately, one-third of all high school students—nearly half of all African American and Latin American young people—do not graduate. Yet what is interesting is that over 80% of young people say they would not have dropped out if their schooling had been more relevant to real life. This is where the NFTE steps in, as it believes that a social entrepreneurship education can help students on to the path of high school graduation. Currently, the NFTE has worked with nearly 350,000 young people from low-income communities in programs across the U.S. and globally.

Back to Hayley Hoverter, who took a class in social entrepreneurship taught by Brent Freeman, CEO of Roozt, an online shopping platform that connects trendsetting, cause-oriented brands with online shoppers. Forbes recently profiled Roozt as a name to know in 2011. Freeman created the social entrepreneurship program to ensure that the students learned how to simultaneously make a difference in the world as well as a profit. Hayley was in the seminal class and came up with an idea for a company with a social cause at the heart of her business plan: to create soluble sugar packets.

Her passion for the concept and the idea stood out in the class; as an incentive for every box purchased of her innovative products, her company, “Sweet (dis)Solve,” will plant a tree to offset carbon emissions. Roozt provided Hayley’s company a free LLC incorporation to make this young social entrepreneur’s dream a reality. Freeman and other NFTE mentors in Los Angeles supported Hayley and coached her all the way to winning. In fact, Daymond John, a judge on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and Founder, President and CEO of sports clothing company FUBU—“For Us, By Us,” has said he will be investing in “Sweet (dis)Solve” along with two other judges from the NFTE competition!

Photo Credit: Melody Campbell

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