The first time Courtney Laschkewitsch recalls wanting to be an entrepreneur, she was 4. By 6 years old, she’d gotten into the habit of ripping up pieces of paper so she could fold and tape them together to create prototypes of her product ideas, which were usually tables, chairs, desks, and kitchen appliances.
Now 18, she’s the first recipient of a Nextie in the teen category (ages 18 and under) for her inspirational speech on the entrepreneurial spirit, given as part of Event Santa Cruz.
“I always thought that the greatest thing I can do is to create something out of nothing,” says Laschkewitsch. “I think the best I can offer people is my ideas and to create products and services that benefit others.”
She is currently studying business at Cabrillo College, and is in the early stages of starting her own company, which will be in the smart watch industry—but not actually smart watches, she says. It’s something she hopes will reduce people’s stress.
“Throughout high school I found stress to be a common thing that everyone has, so I wanted to create a device that would basically help with biofeedback—help reduce stress and balance someone’s life to make them more relaxed in situations,” Laschkewitsch says.
She grew up with parents in the nonprofit industry, and credits her entrepreneurial aspirations to them. A small portion of her speech was devoted to her business, but most of it was about her philosophies on how to create the right headspace to be an entrepreneur.
“I think failure is great. If you are failing, then you are on the path to success. I know that sounds weird, but you learn from failing,” Laschkewitsch says. “In 10 years, I would like to see my company hit the news and really start to change lives. My real main goal is to see people walking on the street, and I want to see them using my products.”