From Their Perspective: Detroit TESA
August 11, 2017
Nearly 40 public and charter high school students from across the Motor City converged at the GVSU Detroit Center for this summer's Teen Entrepreneurship Summer Academy (TESA), an exploration on how to tackle societal issues through innovative businesses and products.
The program - hosted by the GVSU Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation - packed one semester's worth of information into just one week. It also gave the attendees the opportunity to understand the importance of stepping up to support the team.
Canton Preparatory High School senior Krupa Patel lead her team to a first-place prize of $2,500 for her group's plan to simultaneously combat blight and homelessness. She was also named the MVP of the program for showing superior leadership.
"Looking at the competition and finding our competitive advantage was huge, she said. "It was also helpful for us to understand the importance of our target market."
While Patel took home the award for her leadership, it was very apparent that TESA pushed all of the attendees to take charge.
For Terrell White, a senior at Cornerstone Health + Technology High School, it gave him an experience he hadn't received at other programs.
"Before TESA there were no real chances for leadership," he said. "It really brought me out of my shell."
Chloe Davis agreed with White.
"I was definitely pushed into a leadership role," said the senior from Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies.
Davis, who described herself as a "TESA veteran" after also attending in 2016, said she suddenly needed to learn how to manage her group since she was now the one being sought for guidance.
"As an introvert, leadership is always hard, but I found it really interesting. I was trying to get people to talk and wanted others' inputs. It's not my job to be a dictator."
She also learned she had to break away from some her habits to help the team succeed.
"Personally, I'm a perfectionist, but I had to tell myself it was OK to make mistakes," she said. "It's how you deal with [a mistake] that is going to make or break your team dynamic."
All three students strongly believed that TESA would help make their life goals more attainable.
Patel is looking to become a neurosurgeon and wants to own her own clinic; White has already started to create his own web design company and wants to study psychology and business after high school; and Davis is striving to attend Carnegie Melon for musical theater and wants to create an organization focused on musical therapy.