At 16 years old, Jesse De La Cruz has a very impressive résumé. He’s an inventor, entrepreneur, public speaker, national finalist, Biltmore Preparatory Academy alumni, and current senior at Camelback High School. If you think that’s impressive, Jesse is on his way to a national AND an international competition as a finalist for DECA Young Entrepreneurs at the International Career and Development Conference and a finalist for the Saunders Scholars Competition and Conference!
The Creighton School District is proud to call Jesse De La Cruz our alumni. Jesse embodies the Creighton vision of preparing students to be adventurous thinkers, collaborative learners, and kind-hearted leaders.
Q. Congratulations on being named a finalist for two different competitions! Can you tell us more about these competitions and how you qualified?
A. As part of the DECA Young Entrepreneurs, my self, and two classmates (Britanny and Estefanny Rodriguez) earned second place in the statewide DECA competition under the “innovation plan” category for our invention of a bracelet that can detect if you were given a date rape drug. As finalists, we will be traveling to Orlando, Fl. for the International Career and Development Conference to pitch our product to judges with the hope of being funded. We will be competing against 20,000 students from across the United States and places like Canada, Japan, Mexico, Guam, and Spain.
After that, I will be traveling to New York City to pitch my business plan and product to a panel of investors. The product I am pitching is The Hair Guy, a monthly subscription service that provides organic hair product to meet the styling needs of men. The product is created with organic ingredients that is safe and won’t damage your hair. The winner of this competition gets a full ride scholarship to the college of their choice and a chance to pitch my product on the show, Shark Tank!
Q. How do you credit Camelback High School and Biltmore Preparatory Academy for preparing you for entrepreneurship?
A. At Biltmore Preparatory Academy I joined the Junior Honors Society. Through this program I gained a love for community service. This is, and has, continued to be my passion, the ultimate goal for me is to stay in Phoenix and give back to the community that has given so much to me. The teachers at Biltmore Preparatory Academy also helped me prepare for the increased rigor of high school and how to start thinking long term about my education.
At Camelback I was introduced to the DECA program. Through this program I have learned about product research, marketing, branding, creating a business plan, public speaking, along with real world skills like how to create a résumé and what to wear to an interview. My teacher Ms. Abrams has also been instrumental in making sure I reach my full potential and take on all opportunities presented to me.
Along with the help of school, my family has been extremely supportive throughout my education and continues to encourage me to do my best and not become too overwhelmed.
Q. What have you learned through the entrepreneurial process?
A. I’ve learned to never give up and to view failure as a chance for growth. Even if you stumble, you have to keep going for the greater opportunity that is sure to come. Early in this program, I failed and it surprised me. I thought I was a natural at this work, but by failing, I believe it prepared me for my next challenge in NYC and Orlando, without that experience, I would not have grown.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. After I graduate high school, I am attending the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. I am interested in studying marketing and I hope to one day become the V.P. of Marketing for the Phoenix Suns.