December 30, 2021
Abinash Sivapalan, Grant Business Start-up Coordinator, reached out to Matthew Guades, YEO Participant, to share his thoughts on his experience with the YEO Program. Read his story below.
Hello everyone! My name is Matthew Guades, and I am a 17-year-old high school student. Over the 2020 lockdown, I spent more time reflecting on my future and what I wanted to do. Thanks to all this time given to me, I realized that although I am not fully clear of what career I want to do, I am sure that I want to achieve financial freedom by a young age. Therefore, I knew that I needed to start a business, as a part-time job won’t be able to fulfill my goals in time. After hours and hours of learning, I discovered a wide range of several business models that interested me. However, I couldn’t start or stay consistent with them. Although these were possible to solve by myself, other factors such as school and my social life were difficulties. These struggles made me realize that I needed to look for guidance to help me achieve that path.
Luckily a few months later, I was blessed to discover and join the Youth Entrepreneurship Opportunities program by SCHC after scrolling around on my Instagram one day. I knew that this was the chance that could help me finally get some assistance. For five months, the YEO program gave me a mentor to help me start my own clothing brand, something that I always planned on doing. During these months, I learned SO much from product research, marketing, sales, and personal development. By having meetings with my mentor and attending workshops weekly, I can implement all of the skills I learned for the rest of my life. Additionally, with the YEO program, my mentor always kept me organized and on track, strengthening my consistency skills and forming good habits for myself and my business. After placing third in the YEO business competition, SCHC gave me another opportunity with the shopHERE program. Through this, I received more funding for my business, and collaborated with a professional designer to create my online website Setherealityy and help me showcase my business to the public.
Nonetheless, I still had to face several struggles along the way. With this program, I was also able to learn that entrepreneurship takes up a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Although I dodged working 6-8 hour shifts from a job, I faced the new challenge of spending almost 10+ hours a day allocating it towards my business. I can still remember the times of staying up late at night trying to design the perfect designs, constructing my website, planning my marketing campaign, etc. These times wanted to make me give up so badly, I always thought of failing and the thought of people not liking my designs at all. However, I knew that if I didn’t pursue this, I would regret it later in the future. I kept telling myself, “but what if I do succeed?” which motivated me to keep going.
In conclusion, the YEO program gave me a tremendous fundamental start to entrepreneurship and self-improvement. Thanks to the funding and resources that I have received from this program, I have all the tools I need to set up a successful business that I will be passionate about. The lovely and welcoming environment taught me that anyone could do anything as long as they put the work into it. Today, I still apply the skills I learned from this program to keep me productive and focused in my daily life, whether it comes to school, working out, or working on my business. Although I’m no Elon Musk yet, I can’t wait for what the future brings and the exciting challenges that I will face.