Isabella Fernandes has been selling Girl Scout Cookies every year since she was five years old.

Today, at age 16, she credits the yearly effort for sparking her passion to study corporate law when she goes to college.

"It really is fun to run your own cookie business and observe your success while you're at it," Fernandes, a Girl Scout Ambassador in Paramus, told New Jersey 101.5. "This year in particular, we learned about overcoming challenges, because selling cookies during a pandemic was definitely not very easy."

In parts of New Jersey, April 11 marks the last day for purchases from local Girl Scout troops. Through certain councils, such as Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, sales will run through the end of the month.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is considered the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world — you give girls $5 per box, but you also give them the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of operating a business.

"They learn essential skills such as goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics," said Betty Garger, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey. "It really lays a great framework for women who want to be an entrepreneur and want to own their own business."

In a 2019 Girl Scouts survey, 76% of girls said they're interested in starting their own company. The organization estimates that 53% of female entrepreneurs and business owners are Girl Scout alums.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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