Introducing NFTE’s February Alum of the Month: Alex Anthony Cortes-Ose

Last summer, Alex Anthony Cortes-Ose participated in NFTE’s Startup Tech Summer program, a technology, entrepreneurship, and mentorship program for high school students. Students are supported by mentors as they learn to code HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and as they work in teams to create a mobile app prototype, business plan, and pitch deck. At the end of summer, each student team demos their completed app and pitches their business idea in competition for seed capital and other prizes.

Let’s hear what Alex has to say about his Startup Tech Summer experience!

How was Startup Tech Summer different than other classes you’ve taken?

There were quite a few things that made Startup Tech Summer stand out from the rest of the classes I took in high school and other programs, in general. I have never been given access to such abundant resources, met so many professional people, or have the chance to connect with students that shared the same drive for entrepreneurship as me.

As the experience became more of a part of my life, I began to improve in public speaking, as well as being smart and aggressive in order to get whatever it is that I want in life. Without NFTE, I would not feel comfortable in saying that I consider myself an entrepreneurial person or that I know the exact steps that I need to take to start a business, two skills that I feel I will always harness and be thankful for.

What was the biggest challenge throughout Startup Tech Summer, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge that I faced during the Startup Tech Summer program was actually finding the time to complete my project, which was building a fully functional app and developing a professional pitch. My group and I always had great new ideas that we wanted to implement, and the program kept pushing us to finish in time. While this was more of a personal struggle, I managed to overcome it through focused attention to details in the development process of the app and by consulting my teammates, the program managers, and my mentors when I needed help with something.


What advice would you give to current NFTE students?

I would like to let current and future NFTE students know that they will be a different person after completing their NFTE program. They will be an improved version of themselves, and the skills that students learn through these programs can benefit them for the rest of their lives, should they choose to use them wisely and have a strong enough drive to pursue entrepreneurship and business.

I never thought that a program could have such an impact on my personality and mindset before I experienced the NFTE program. Participating in a NFTE program is a privilege and opportunity that can change your life.

How do you currently use the skills you gained from NFTE?

After NFTE, I made sure to keep every single resource, be it lecture notes, graphic organizers, online links, anything that I could potentially use to start my own business and pursue professional app development. In addition, the group that I partnered with during Startup Tech Summer is still working with me in seeing our idea through. Our third place finish, though not what we wanted, was a wake up call and only drove us to want to succeed 2 times more! We are using the same skills that we learned in NFTE to see what it is we did wrong as well as how we can improve and succeed in the app market and get our names out into the professional world.

Is there any way NFTE can further support you with entrepreneurship or skill-building at this point in time?

I think that NFTE has done most, if not all that it could have done to support my group’s and my own success in entrepreneurship: the resources, lessons, networks, and people that we have acquired through this program is truly more than I ever imagined getting out of a summer program, and I will forever be thankful for this.

As always, be on the lookout for upcoming Alumni of the Month blog posts, and we will be sharing information about NFTE’s summer programming opportunities soon!