EnterCircle offers students a doorway to entrepreneurship


EnterCircle 2023 will invite students from four St. Johns County high schools to attend its Youth Symposium on Nov. 16. One of EnterCircle’s goals is to cultivate entrepreneurship and educate students on the possibilities that exist locally and globally.

This year, students will hear from successful business leaders from a variety of industries on how they were able to “thrive with purpose” in their professional careers and personal lives. 

Raghu Misra, founder of Sapna Foundation and the link, is dedicated to supporting the entrepreneurial pursuits of the youth in Northeast Florida.

“It is our duty and passion to pass on our practical knowledge and entrepreneurial life experiences to youth,” Misra said. “We are excited to have students attend the youth symposium so they may learn from inspirational speakers.”

To execute this mission to empower young entrepreneurs, Sapna Foundation has partnered with the St. Johns County School District to bring students to EnterCircle 2023. 

Emily Harrison, director of career and technical education at St. Johns County School District, is excited to bring students to EnterCircle from the career academies of Ponte Vedra High, Pedro Menendez High, Bartram Trail High and Creekside High.

“Having EnterCircle with guest speakers gives another level of entrepreneurship interaction, and it gets students out into the field more and continues the conversation for longer. It makes the experience more enriching,” Harrison said. 

Speakers on this day of the summit aim to inspire the teens with topics and breakout rooms like how to find their purpose, design thinking and funding their business goals. 

The inspiring lineup of speakers includes Father Rich Pagano of St. John Paul II; Nick Crouch, co-CEO of DYNE Hospitality Group; Scott Maynard, vice president of economic development, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce; Marc Montemerlo, senior recovery engineer at SpaceX; and more. 

Harrison believes the speakers at EnterCircle will offer valuable insights to the students that they can take with them into the rest of their careers. 

“The interesting thing is that you never know when a speaker will say something that resonates,” Harrison said. “People come back and say that this will be a defining moment. Any time we offer opportunities for guest speakers, you’re hoping experiences will resonate with the students, and we hope that it will inspire them to continue with something.”

Also on the agenda is a student pitch competition, where teams can pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. From pitch to feedback, teams will have 15 minutes to share their vision. 

EnterCircle has hosted an innovation competition for the past two years. Student teams developed a business plan and then pitched their ideas to judges, who offered feedback and tips for improving their products and pitches. 

Some students took their ideas beyond the stage at EnterCircle by applying feedback from the judges and taking the next step toward making their project real.

“The competition gives students an opportunity to get feedback so that they can make adjustments to presentations and their ideas so that they can pitch it again,” Harrison said. “EnterCircle became a third opportunity where they can get in front of judges and a crowd. That opportunity has now also translated to students filing patents. It's taking it to the next level.”

More information on EnterCircle, the Youth Symposium and how to register for the pitch competition can be found on EnterCircle.zone.