Young Entrepreneur on a Life-Changing Journey

Miami, Florida (PRESS RELEASE – May 14, 2010) – When Darnell Skepple joined the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Entrepreneurship Club at North Miami Beach High School, he hoped the skills he learned would take him places. And they did: last week (May 2-9), they took him to San Francisco for a week of mentoring and job shadowing with senior leadership at the Virgin Group.

It all began when Darnell met Sir Richard Branson at the opening of the new Virgin America terminal at the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in South Florida. Darnell and other NFTE E-Club members were invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and were given a tour of a Virgin jet by Branson, who also shared his secrets for entrepreneurial success. That brief walk aboard the Airbus A320 was Darnell’s first time on an airplane.

It would not be his last.

When Richard Branson learned that this budding entrepreneur had never before flown the friendly skies, he immediately offered Darnell the trip of a lifetime: a free round-trip ticket to San Francisco to visit the Virgin America headquarters and receive a week of valuable feedback and coaching from one of the airline industry’s most innovative executive teams.

Helping Entrepreneurial Dreams Take Flight

For Darnell, who advanced to the North Miami Beach High business plan competition finals in his junior year with his website design business, LD Designs, the trip to Virgin headquarters this week isn’t just a vacation. Along with receiving mentoring from Virgin’s web development staff about how to get his web design company of the ground, Darnell will also have the chance to sit in on high-level corporate meetings, tour the Virgin terminal at the airport, and receive job shadowing.

Darnell’s experience was made possible through his involvement with the South Florida program of NFTE which has been providing entrepreneurship education to students in Miami-Dade and Broward county schools since 2006. Through its experiential curriculum and education programs, NFTE South Florida has taught over 10,000 students how to think and act like entrepreneurs, so they can take control of their destiny and lead financially independent lives.

Virgin Unite, the Virgin Group’s nonprofit foundation, has partnered with NFTE on its Entrepreneurs Unite campaign. Through its mission to become a force for entrepreneurship incubation, Virgin Unite has reached out to entrepreneurial development programs across the world. Virgin Unite was founded in 2004.

Darnell, now a student at Miami Dade College, will be blogging and tweeting about his experiences at Virgin America headquarters throughout the week. To follow Darnell’s adventure, visit

For more information about Darnell Skepple’s experience or to learn more about NFTE please contact Vanessa Horwell or Erin Schmidt at / 305.749.5342 ext. 239.

About NFTE

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) provides entrepreneurship education programs to young people from low-income communities. Since 1987, NFTE has worked with more than 280,000 young people. NFTE currently has programs in 21 states and 11 countries,and has more than 1,500 active certified teachers. NFTE joined forces with KidVentures in South Florida in 2006, and is headed by Executive Director Alice Horn. For more information, visit


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