Nick Majer, a high school junior at Gilmour Academy, is taking on a very tricky topic: politics. Through his involvement with MIT Launch, Nick and his co-founders created a prototype for a crowdfunded lobbying system called Politifund.
Majer: I am 16 years old, so my time as an entrepreneur has been relatively short. During my sophomore year, I started the Entrepreneurship Club at Gilmour, which formally launched my interest in entrepreneurship. The Club is a kind of “Think Tank” where like-minded people come together to bounce ideas around. To be completely honest, I had very little knowledge of entrepreneurship when I started the club, so it is a learning experience for me and the other members.
My biggest step as an entrepreneur was going to MIT Launch, which is a month-long summer program for high school students who start up companies. MIT Launch is where Politifund was born, created with three other high school students from around the world. Before this, I had no idea what steps to take to start a company, but I am learning on the fly and having a great time. Of course, working on Politifund has its ups and downs, but I know that entrepreneurship is a passion for me and I am eager to learn more.
Majer: One of the most important things to understand as a founder is that starting up requires sacrifice. I sacrificed a month of my summer to pursue something I was not sure I could do. Now I sacrifice free time spent hanging out with friends to work on the business. Sacrificing my time for entrepreneurship has been the most important step in getting to where I am today.
Majer: My age! The Politifund team goes to meetings where we’re greeted with shock and confusion. It seems there is an assumption that teen founders cannot be as successful as older, more seasoned entrepreneurs.
Majer: Many people push me to work hard at being an entrepreneur, but my motivation comes from inside. I believe that working hard is in my best interest. Even though I do not feel a need to prove myself to the world, I do feel a need to prove something to myself, that as time goes by, I can achieve more than I currently imagine is possible.
Majer: Like many other Americans, the 2016 election got me very interested in politics. The influence of money in politics makes the average American’s political voice almost non-existent. Politifund is designed to solve that problem.
Majer: I am taking some difficult courses this year, so homework takes priority during the week and Politifund is my focus on weekends. To stay on track, the Politifund team meets by video conference every other weekend, while most of our routine communications happen on Slack. With very limited time to work on Politifund, I have to work as effectively as I can to get as much done as possible in a short amount of time.
Majer: Some people may be born with a predisposition for entrepreneurial thinking, but I think entrepreneurship is largely an acquired trait, which can be learned through real-world experience. When I started, I had very little knowledge of entrepreneurship, but as a result of real-world experiences, I now think like an entrepreneur.
Majer: Don’t fear failure. I used to think that failure meant I was not working hard enough. Wrong. I believe that fear makes you hesitant, and when you hesitate you miss important opportunities. As a result, I have banished my fear of failure. Taking this step is one of the most important things I have done to arrive where I am today.