Nicholas Benavides, Founder of the Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition and Student at Stanford
I had always been interested in learning why some companies become a huge success, while others don’t. At the age of 16, my dad gave me the book Blue Ocean Strategy. I was so intrigued that I finished it within one week.
The book provided me with something that I for long had been missing in traditional high-school education: a solid framework for creativity and innovation. Why wasn’t this offered in school or at any of my extra-curricular business activities? So I gathered a few friends and pitched the idea of bringing a ‘blue ocean’ spirit to high-school classrooms. The ‘Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition’ was born.
Within four months we had 30 teams from all over the county pitching their blue ocean ideas. Just two years later, we had teams register from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington DC. Today, the competition is set to become the US’s largest entrepreneurship competition run by and for high school students. This upcoming school year, high-school students from Maryland to Silicon Valley will be developing their entrepreneurial skills with blue ocean strategy.
For me personally, blue ocean strategy has had a tremendous impact on my life. Organizing the competition helped me get over my shy nature, to develop my leadership skills and to grow my network. With the 4th edition of the Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition expanding nation-wide, blue ocean strategy continues to keep me busy. It has given such a sense of purpose to my late-teens, and I’m sure that it will have an even bigger impact on my career and that of the participants in the future.