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Zen and cultural growth through animation

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Zen Marley Mello participated in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City last November (Photograph supplied)

Zen is in the art of animation, an entrepreneurial journey that has already opened him to business opportunity and exposure to his global peers.

Zen Marley Mello is the 19-year old founder and CEO of Zenimations, the animation video creations business he founded as a student.

He began his entrepreneurial journey at the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative’s BizCamp, shortly after finding his passion for creative video animations in the summer of 2020.

He liked the programme so much, he did it again during the Term Break Programme that October, becoming a double recipient of the certification.

In 2022, Mr Mello participated in the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation summer student internship programme, where he nourished fresh ideas.

He created animations for the Mirrors PeerForward college and career readiness programme. Later that year, he created a video for the CedarBridge Signature School Orientation Programme.

In the summer of 2023, before enrolling in art classes at Bermuda College, Mr Mello successfully completed the Ignite Young Adult Entrepreneurial Internship Programme to further his business aspirations.

But his November participation at the World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City has been a cultural eye-opener.

The Challenge is the signature event for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

Held for just the second year in conjunction with NFTE’s UN Global Goals Conversation, it was an opportunity for NFTE students from around the world to compete in a business plan competition.

In addition to the competition, they participated in a day of learning together to advance their business ideas and build connections with like-minded peers.

The seminars, which were hosted at the world headquarters of PayPal, included presentations by sponsors EY Americas, Zuora and PayPal.

Competition finals with participants from ten countries were held after a day of activities at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan.

Mr Mello reflected on the profound nature of his personal growth from the experience.

He said: “The WYEC event is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

“It gave me the opportunity to experience people from different countries, cultures, upbringings, experiences and so much more, all within the span of a few days.

“I was able to connect with people that impacted my perspective on the world of entrepreneurship.”

“It opened my mind to the number of problems there really are in the world, and showed how many innovative solutions there are to them, as well.

“I’ve opened my eyes to the greater possibilities of entrepreneurship and I’m excited to explore and learn more about what I can do to help the world.”

The YEI has had a programme partnership with NFTE for the past 20 years to bring their youth entrepreneurship programmes to Bermuda. The BizCamps are the core programme along with support for the business essentials courses at government middle schools.

Joe Mahoney, executive director of the YEI, expressed his highest regard for Mr Mello’s participation by noting: “Zen did very well to hold his own against very impressive competition from NFTE Global Partners in the USA, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Austria, Greece, Argentina, and remarkably enough, a Palestine entry via video.

“Zen was one of only a few who presented a plan for a business that was already up and running.”

Zen Marley Mello with other participants in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City (Photograph supplied)

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Published April 23, 2024 at 12:57 pm (Updated April 23, 2024 at 7:41 pm)

Zen and cultural growth through animation

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