• Student Entrepreneur Meets President Obama
President Obama and Scott Paiva

10/20/2009

Sawyer Business School student and entrepreneur Scott Paiva was thrilled to meet President Barack Obama at the White House after finishing among the top contenders in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

 “It was phenomenal, a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Paiva, 18, a freshman finance major.  “Once I heard his voice, I knew this was all real.”

Paiva’s meeting with the president came as a result of his third-place finish in the Challenge, sponsored by OppenheimerFunds and the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

His winning entry was the development of “Express Tax Service,” a tax-preparation service geared to young people.  He received a prize of $2,500 in the final round of the national competition, held in early October in New York City. 

Paiva was joined at the White House by first- and second-place winners Kalief Rollins of Carson, Calif., and Zoe Damacela of Chicago.  They met Obama in the Oval Office following a two-hour tour of the White House.

“We got to shake hands with the president and talk with him for a few minutes,” said Paiva.  “He knew all of our names and the businesses that we developed.  You could tell that he had read up on us.”

Obama took time to joke with his visitors. “He told me that he’s going to have me do his Cabinet’s taxes,” said Paiva.

At the end of their meeting, President Obama presented Paiva with a presidential necktie – blue-striped with little pictures of the White House on it. Paiva said he plans to wear the memento “only on special occasions.”

A segment on Paiva’s visit to the White House will air on CBS Evening News Friday Oct. 23.

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