Although he’s a 19-year old college student, Perry Scott already is the epitome of entrepreneurial success with several startup ideas under his belt, including Where’s Perry Productions, his current videography and photography venture.
Creative and focused to a fault, Scott shared his career story and dreams with me when we sat down together at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference event. He was there courtesy of a partnership between SAP Corporate Social Responsibility and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a non-profit organization that provides programs for underserved youth.
“I’m totally focused on how to be innovative,” said Scott. “Where’s Perry Productions is located in my hometown, but my idea is to make it more global. Eventually I want customers to send me footage from anywhere in the world, and I’ll send it back professionally edited and finalized.”
Turning a Passion into a Job
Born and raised in Philadelphia where he lives with his mother and sister, Scott said he joined the NFTE program when he was a freshman in high school, allowing him to become a business major and begin pursuing his career dreams. After a couple of ideations, he discovered his passion for video during an internship at WHYY, a local television station, helping develop documentaries and other kinds of films.
“In school, they told us to start a business, create a product or service, think of something and be innovative,” said Scott. “The first year I created a clothing line, the second year I created a phone accessory kit, and the next year I decided that I wanted to be a photographer. Having the internship was a great experience, and they aired some of my work on television. I had a business mindset at that point, and turned my passion into a job.”
Scott viewed the NFTE program as an opportunity to learn what it takes to start his own business, how to talk with people including the media, and compete to achieve his dream of becoming a global, young entrepreneur. Having participated in numerous classroom courses and NFTE-sponsored summer camps, Scott regularly gives back to other youth in his community through speaking engagements and providing complimentary video services.
Today Philadelphia, Tomorrow the World
Invited to SAPPHIRE as a social media youth ambassador, Scott clearly enjoyed what he saw as the chance to rub shoulders with digital business leaders. “I’m learning first-hand what it takes to be an innovative, successful entrepreneur. The world is moving incredibly fast, and you have to figure out how to distinguish yourself. I’ve been inspired by many great people here, including Michelle Obama, who said kids need guidance. It’s the same thing that NFTE and SAP are bringing to me. SAPPHIRE is allowing me to experience what the real business world looks like.”
By the end of our conversation, I wasn’t surprised when Scott told me he wasn’t studying photography at La Salle University, but instead majoring in business administration and management.
“People tend to think I’d study film or photography but being an entrepreneur I’m taking a different learning road,” he said. “I can learn my photography and video on internships, going online or practice. What I need is to learn how to manage and operate my own business, making business administration the best major for me with a minor in entrepreneurship.”
Scott’s five-year plan as he finishes college is to own photography studios beyond Philadelphia, expanding to New York, New Jersey and other countries as well. “Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about you doing everything. It’s about building connections and partnerships, and that’s what I plan to do,” he said. “My advice is to ask for help, never give up, and never be afraid to take on challenges because you never know how successful you’ll be unless you try.”
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