Heller students meet entrepreneurs, pitch ideas as Forbes Under 30 Summit Scholars

October 05, 2018

From left: Hend Nafea, MA SID/COEX’19, Angesom Teklu, MA SID’19 and Donald Fonseca, MA SID’19 at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

For four Heller students selected to attend the 2018 Forbes Under 30 Summit for free as Forbes Scholars, the best part wasn’t the speakers and performers—it was the opportunity to create invaluable connections for their new and ongoing ventures.

“I had the most amazing time interacting with young leaders, innovators, visionaries and scholars from all over the world,” says Hend Nafea, MA SID/COEX’19.

The summit, held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 in Boston, drew more than 10,000 attendees who chose from 24 different programming tracks, ranging from technology to health care, impact investing to education. Attendees heard from 200 speakers that included CEOs from various industries, politicians and professional athletes. The Heller students offered reflections on the event:

Donald Fonseca, MA SID’19

I choose the social entrepreneurship and green technology track. I had the opportunity to observe innovative programs that utilize technology to promote startups, facilitate advancements in education and to solve many of the world's problems. I found the networking aspect of the summit most valuable. Making connections and exchanging contact details with presenters, CEOs, inventors, and other scholars, was facilitated by Klick technology which was embedded in the IDs and activated by pressing.

I have made invaluable contacts with attendees. This includes an IT student at MIT with whom I expect to collaborate and migrate a behavior management program I have designed to a digital format. I was able to pitch the behavior management system that I designed having observed the need for a symbiotic method to connect teacher/schools with parents of students who are presenting challenging behavior patterns in schools or who otherwise have challenges to learning. This system was primarily based on my experience in the classroom in both Jamaica and in the United Kingdom, but it would have international applicability. I am open to sharing my idea with anyone at Heller who might have an interest in supporting me.

It was indeed a pleasure to attend this event. I am delighted to have represented the Heller School at the event and hope that others in the future will now have the opportunity to attend.

Angesom Teklu, MA SID’19

Forbes Under 30 Summit enabled me to connect with like-minded people which is very crucial to my career and my multidimensional growth as a leader. I had the opportunity to pitch my idea and current project in education, innovation and social entrepreneurship, the Eritrea Dreamers Initiative and Asmara Trash Mining Company, to potential partners and investors. Several funders and Investors are interested in partnering with me and to contribute to the initiative. Among them was NOVO Bank, Learn @ Forbes, UnShackled Ventures, Redsea Ventures,  Liquid Venture Partners, August Capital and Blue Cloud Ventures.

I also attended different panel discussions at the policy, law and education track. Among them: “When suffering becomes empowerment through political action” by Rise Founder & CEO Amanda Nguyen and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs; “Too young to run for office: With little to no political experience, how do you convince voters and fellow politicians to listen?” featuring several candidates running for Congress: Zak Ringelstein, Morgan Murtaugh and Dan Koh, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.  

Overall the event creates an immersive experience for me and offers me strength, determination and optimism.

Hend Nafea, MA SID/COEX’19

These past few days were amazing and filled with inspiration and connections that were so strong. I knew I was at the right location at the right time. I chose to be a part of the law and policy track and was able to access and attend talks, performances and meet amazing people in the education, social entrepreneurship and startup tracks. I had the most amazing time interacting with young leaders, innovators, visionaries and scholars from all over the world and exchanging contacts with them.

I didn’t need a business card because the summit provided us with an electronic ID that allowed us to exchange contacts with presenters and attendees. The information was then saved to our account on the summit app on Klick technology. I had an interesting discussion with some of the presenters around disrupting civil society, social movements and innovation for activists at risk. The summit filled me with fresh motivation. It’s time for us to do what we can, with what we have, and where we are, NOW!

Kedryn Berrian, MA SID’19 

I truly enjoyed the conversations and interactions that I had with the Forbes 30 under 30 attendees. I was able to meet with venture capitalists, startup founders, and students from all over the nation. As a Forbes 30 under 30 scholar, I was able to attend conversations regarding business sustainability and development. I especially enjoyed the talk with Governor John Kasich. He gave a great update about the Republican Party, and provided useful advice to the young people within the audience. Overall, this experience has equipped me with new connections and skills to help me in my career as a young professional.