Help Kids Be the CEOs of Their Futures

by Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
Crystal S., having just won the 2015 NYEC
Crystal S., having just won the 2015 NYEC

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is continuing our work to help at-risk youth stay in school and pursue a brighter future.  With your support through the GlobalGiving platform, NFTE’s program continues to expand each year.  Our mission is to teach students an entrepreneurial mindset, which will provide them with the tools and attitudes to overcome adversity and address future personal, economic, community and global challenges. Your donations through GlobalGiving went to our classroom programs across the country, helping students access our materials so they could dare to dream.  As the new school year began NFTE closed out the 2014 – 2015 academic calendar by bringing the winners of our Regional Business Plan Competitions to New York City on October 6th for the 2015 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Each of the participants came ready to pitch their entrepreneurial ventures, having honed their business plans through NFTE mentoring sessions and earlier competitions and in NFTE BizCamps.  36 student businesses, represented by 49 students, gave their presentations to panels of local judges at the Challenge, in the hopes of winning additional start-up capital for their business.  The exciting, day long event saw the judges impressed by even those students who did not move on from the early morning round.  These students had been developing not just their unique business ideas, but also the marketing, financial, and operating processes during their time studying NFTE’s curriculum.  After two competitive morning rounds three businesses advanced to the finals: Crystal S. of NFTE Los Angeles with Guardian Locket, the hometown New York City team of Urbana A. and Jannatul R. for URBANAlifa Hijabs, and Kenneth H., also from Los Angeles, for his business A Touch of Eco.

The three finalists represented a broad range of businesses, but each also chose to focus their endeavors behind a social cause as well.  Crystal, a freshman in college, had designed Guardian Locket as a necklace and locket which can alert police and close contacts in the event of a sexual assault.  She aims to combat the spike in gender violence on college campuses with her personal security product.  The service business Kenneth founded can trace its origins to California’s ongoing drought.  He provides environmentally friendly and low-water usage car washes to his customers with A Touch of Eco.  Urbana and Jannatul designed fashionable and customizable hijabs for women who want to look stylish, while also maintain their religious modesty.  It is a problem they see in New York City which they knew they could fix through their work in the NFTE course.

After the final presentations, and some intense deliberation by the judges, Crystal took home first place and $25,000 to further their education or grow her business.  Urbana and Jannatul, and Kenneth, both received $5,000 for making it to the finals.  All told, NFTE awarded $35,000 in venture capital, scholarships, and other prizes at the Challenge, and the students got to promote their companies, hear feedback from successful business executives, and network with top entrepreneurs.  This spring a new group of NFTE students will take their first steps towards the 2016 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge when they compete in classroom competitions across the country.  We’re looking forward to a great crop of new business next year!

the 4 finalists, enjoying a break between rounds
the 4 finalists, enjoying a break between rounds
the final round judges
the final round judges

Links:

Ambar presenting at the National Challenge
Ambar presenting at the National Challenge

This spring, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) will honor the entrepreneurial students who have received the life-changing training our program provides.  NFTE is active in 18 states, as well as the District of Columbia, through our 11 program offices and numerous licensed partners.  Outside of the U.S. NFTE’s international partner programs operate in an additional 12 countries, serving thousands of students each year.  By teaching the entrepreneurial mindset, NFTE provides young people with tools and attitudes to overcome adversity and address future personal, economic, community and global challenges.  Our 2015 Global Showcase exemplifies this diversity, as each program office and partner will send one student (along with one enterprising NFTE teacher) to New York City to be honored as a Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year.  Thank you for supporting our programs, and for helping elevate our students to dream of a brighter future.

Each of the Global Young Entrepreneurs of 2015 has created a business during the NFTE course, whether in the U.S. or abroad.  Each of the businesses they have started, with the help of their NFTE teachers and dedicated volunteers and mentors from the community, highlights their commitment to an entrepreneurial mindset.  Seventeen year-old Ambar R., of Bridgeport, Connecticut was named NFTE Fairchester’s Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year after her plan for Styles by Ambar made her a runner-up at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in October. There, her presentation for the company, which solicits donations of high quality, pre-loved clothes and resells them at up to 70% off the original retail price, earned her $5,000 in seed capital for her business.  “I recognized this business opportunity before I began the NFTE class; I just didn’t know how to fully execute my idea. NFTE got me started,” Ambar says.  Styles has a positive message as well.  It keeps clothes from being thrown into landfills, and donates a percentage of its profits are donated to organizations that benefit the lives of women in areas such as health, education and careers.  Ambar recognized a huge business opportunity and, using her entrepreneurial mindset, was able to turn that idea into a successful new venture.

The Global Young Entrepreneur of 2015 from the D.C. Region has also created a socially conscious business.  Abigail H., of Alexandria, Virginia is the Founder and CEO of Patriot Portraits, a service which provides low-cost family portrait sessions to military families.  “All employees, including our highly qualified photographers, are youth, giving them professional experience and providing the ability to be competitive in the photography industry. We train them to assist with military-specific needs, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical disabilities that occur in combat,” she says.  The original Patriot Portraits, near where Abigail grew up minutes from the Pentagon, incorporated patriotic backgrounds of the waterfront and views of monuments in Washington, D.C.  Patriot Portraits has already opened its first franchise in Dallas, and Abigail is planning for additional franchises in California, Hawaii, and New York with her highly scalable business model.  She is proving one of the central tenets of NFTE’s mission: that young people who start their own businesses will employ others – growth which can elevate families, communities and entire economies.

NFTE’s emphasis on the need for global citizens to be adaptive, open minded and creative is not confined just to American students.  The Global Young Entrepreneur from NFTE México, Daniel N. has started his own company, Heaven’s Riders.  He creates affordable and innovative video games for mobile platforms that satisfy young people’s need for both entertainment and education.  Before NFTE, Daniel kept a low profile. “No one knew me. I didn’t know what it meant to integrate and manage a team from start to finish, and I hadn’t had the experience to compete with business plans, traveling to another state or country. I also had no knowledge of company structure or legal matters. So I had those challenges in addition to finding a way to be innovative and improve society constructively.” The team behind Heaven’s Riders collectively has five years of study in multiple programming languages, proficiency in computer and design applications, and a communal goal to help society through technological innovation.

The Global Showcase on March 25th, aims to highlight the best of NFTE as emphasized by students like Ambar, Abigail, and Daniel.  Through entrepreneurship, young people see they can control their success. As a result, they learn to take responsibility and make smarter investments in their futures.  Employers need dynamic, flexible and creative workers – the skills and mindsets that entrepreneurship teaches.  Young people who learn to think like entrepreneurs will be more productive and have more success later in life.  These three Global Young Entrepreneurs represent the best of NFTE’s program.  There are thousands more like them though, as each of our offices and affiliates around the globe graduates more NFTE alumni every year.  We hope our student’s businesses continue to grow throughout the years.  Their success is in part thanks to your donations on Global Giving. Thanks again.

Ambar (far right) meeting Pres. Obama with NFTE
Ambar (far right) meeting Pres. Obama with NFTE
Daniel N, who operates Heaven
Daniel N, who operates Heaven's Riders

Links:

Baltimore students presenting their business
Baltimore students presenting their business

This summer the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has unveiled several new programs in our ongoing quest to bring entrepreneurship education to as many youth as possible.  NFTE has partnered with the Citi Foundation as a part of their Pathways to Progress campaign to launch Make Your Job, a national program to help empower low-income youth to develop the business skills and entrepreneurial mindset needed to compete in the modern workforce.  As a part of the Make Your Job initiative, NFTE hosted 18 BizCamps, a two week, intensive entrepreneurship program for students across the country.  Each student in the BizCamps created their own original business idea and developed a plan for how to start, market, and grow their business.  Our extraordinary partners with the Citi Foundation, along with your donations through GlobalGiving, have helped make these camps come to life for the 400 students who took part.

The BizCamps also included a business plan competition, where the students would pitch the ideas they worked on during the course to a panel of judges.  The winning plans at each camp received seed capital to take their business outside of the classroom.  Each of the winners also gained entry into the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (NYEC) this fall.  At the NYEC each of the BizCamp teams will compete with other students from the 11 NFTE Program Offices and 6 Partner Programs for the grand prize of $25,000 in start-up capital and prizes for their business.  Each of the teams is spending this summer refining their plan, practicing their pitch, and of course, starting their business. The 2014 NYEC will take place on October 9th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California (this represents the first time the Challenge is in the Bay Area).

One of the young entrepreneurs who won his BizCamp was Miles J., who won Citi’s Los Angeles BizCamp Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.  Truly taking the name “Make Your Job” to the next level, Miles created Next Generation Financials during his two-week program.  His mobile app aims to help low-income families that often can’t afford private financial advisors.  Next Generation Financials allows for basic financial planning, budgeting, and business news all through a smartphone.  Before entering NFTE’s BizCamps, Miles wasn’t sure what to expect from the course but was excited to be studying any topics relating to business.  Although he traveled more than an hour each way to attend class, the coursework inspired him.  His love of math and business financials led him to create something he is excited about.  In the future Miles plans to attend college, and one day be the CEO of his own company.

Another student-run business with the hopes of winning the NYEC is ULO, or Unique Locker Organizers.  Developed by Anyira B. and Britney R. of New York’s Westchester suburbs, they drew from their personal experience in school to create their business.  They reasoned that the more organized one’s locker is, the more organized one can be for class.  ULO is a device that allows students to easily keep track of all the textbooks, notebooks, and classroom supplies necessary for high school.  Anyira and Britney are even starting a social outreach program, as they plan to donate two purple Unique Locker Organizers during Bullying Prevention Month in October.  Both girls plan to attend college in the future, and cite the NFTE BizCamp as a key experience to have in advance of business school.

Other teams that will represent NFTE BizCamps in the National Finals include The Abyss, an online artistic community founded by Jenna A. and Meyahueltzin A. of Chicago, Distinguished Designs, a company from Ronnell F. of Mount Vernon, New York, which makes customized, fashionable, lapel pins, and the student bike sharing program Acellabike, run by Baltimore students Maya C., and siblings Chris and Kayla S.  These teams, and the others from NFTE’s Program Offices and regional partners, will have their presentations ready in the Bay Area on October 9th for the final rounds of the competition.  The final three will present their business plans to a distinguished panel of judges, who will have the privilege of crowning the winner.

Citi volunteers and business mentors with students
Citi volunteers and business mentors with students
Los Angeles BizCamp winners
Los Angeles BizCamp winners

Links:

the finalists of the Los Angeles Competition
the finalists of the Los Angeles Competition

Spring at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) means it is time for the students who have completed our youth entrepreneurship course to present the business plans they have been planning for months.  The different NFTE offices have each held their Regional Youth Business Plan Challenges, choosing two winning teams to compete in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge this October.  Each participant in the Regional Challenges took the NFTE program to learn lessons on entrepreneurship including opportunity recognition, marketing, finance, and product development.  Along the way, working with their NFTE certified teachers and real-world entrepreneurs and leaders as mentors, they formulated an idea for a business based on what they had learned in the NFTE curriculum.  The Regional Challenges start in the classrooms rounds move into semi-finals and beyond.  Each round gives the students a chance to hone their presentation skills and hear the advice of the local entrepreneurs and businesspeople who serve as competition judges.

2014 will mark the first time the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is taking place in the Bay Area.  On October 9th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, the regional winners will compete for the $25,000 grand prize in seed capital for their business and scholarships for the young entrepreneurs.  The companies they have started show off their incredible business acumen.  Bobbie R. will be competing near home soil, having advanced out of the NFTE Bay Area competition.  The founder of Apparel of Champions, Bobbie seeks to make customized cheer outfits for school sports teams.  Incorporating unique designs onto t-shirts and hoodies, Apparel seeks to capitalize on a sports crazy world (last year’s winner, T&J Soccer, produced customized soccer shin guards).  Another California team, this one representing NFTE Los Angeles, will also be aiming to take home the grand prize.  Joshua F. and Eddy G. are the co-founders of Time’s Up, a dental health company.  They have created a special brand of color changing toothpaste.  Incorporating an element of social responsibility into their business plan, Joshua and Eddy have made it a goal to make dental hygiene fun for young children.  They hope the playful aspect of Time’s Up can help do just that.

Just outside of New York City, the Westchester County Regional Champions hail from Yonkers, New York.  Fatelinda K. and Naryis R. have turned their passion for cosmetics into a business idea that has seen them through to the National Challenge.  Their product, the Lindnar Hair Mask, is completely organic, and made with an avocado base.  A dynamic team, they hope that their pitch to the judges can help them get that much closer to the venture capital and scholarships available this October.  These three teams, and the others from NFTE’s Program Offices and regional partners, will have their presentations ready in the Bay Area on October 9th for the final rounds of the competition.  The final three will present their business plans to a distinguished panel of judges, who will have the privilege of crowning the winner.  In the meantime they will be sharpening their presentations, working on their 60 second elevator pitches, and, of course, continuing to grow their businesses.  In a few months all the students will have had the experience of a lifetime, and one individual or team will go home with $25,000!

Joshua and Eddy presenting the plan for Time
Joshua and Eddy presenting the plan for Time's Up
judges at the Los Angeles Regional Competition
judges at the Los Angeles Regional Competition
Joshua and Eddy, the Los Angeles winners
Joshua and Eddy, the Los Angeles winners
Akinbola R, the honoree of Youth Entrepreneurs GA
Akinbola R, the honoree of Youth Entrepreneurs GA

This spring, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) will honor many of the students who have received the life-changing entrepreneurship training our program provides. NFTE is active in 18 states, as well as the District of Columbia, through our 11 program offices and numerous licensed partners. Outside of the U.S. NFTE’s international partner programs operate in an additional 10 countries, serving thousands of students each year. This reach allows NFTE’s programs to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in youth around the world.  Our 2014 Global Gala exemplifies this diversity, as each program office and partner sends one student to Washington, D.C. to be honored as a Global Young Entrepreneur of 2014.

Each of the Global Young Entrepreneurs of 2014 has created a business during the NFTE course. Their stories are as fascinating and unique as their new ventures. For example, Arvind N. of San Jose, California created the smart phone app WalkIn. The service provides an easy to use interface for restaurants to organize customers by their arrival time and party number. The app sends text messages at the restaurant’s behest when a customer’s table is ready, cutting down on the need for vibrating buzzers or inefficient check-ins. Arvind has said he hopes to include new features for the app soon, including giving the restaurants logistical data on those waiting. After completing his course in NFTE Bay Area, Arvind plans to give back to the community by using the capabilities of WalkIn to organize a yearly food drive for the homeless in his community.

Another Global Young Entrepreneur of 2014 is Lang D. of North Miami, Florida. Propelled by a NFTE mentor to consider a project he felt so passionate about “that you’d be willing to do it for free”, Lang focused on clothing design and fashion. After graduating from NFTE South Florida’s program in 2009, Lang started The Newsies Clothing Co. LLC, a clothing line that is focused on the urban movement. Particular inspiration is drawn from the 1890s era of newspaper boys. The styles of The Newsies Clothing Co. are sometimes drawn from local artists Lang collaborates with. Demonstrating the drive of a true entrepreneur, Lang continues to run his company while holding a full-time job and attending the Miami Ad School.

Juggling the difficult task of managing a new company while enrolled in school is not confined to NFTE’s American students however. The three Global Young Entrepreneurs of 2014 from NFTE’s London-affiliate, the Network for Teaching Young Entrepreneurs, each attend different universities while still finding time for the business they co-founded. Adeola D., Kofi D., and Tyrell W. met during a five day summer business course where they were placed in the same group project. The result was Antiks Ltd., a company which solves the problem of misplaced household objects. Their main product is a chip called The Bleep Finder that attaches to easily misplaced items. When a remote is pushed, The Bleep Finder makes a noise to indicate where a lost object is. The three students have gone on to separate schools, but continue to advance their business opportunity all the same.

The Global Gala on April 24th in Washington, D.C. will honor these young entrepreneurs, whose businesses are possible thanks in part to supporters like you.  The donations NFTE receives from GlobalGiving have gone towards our classroom programs, helping new students dare to dream of a brighter future.  Arvind, Lang, Adeola, Kofi, Tyrell, and the other Global Young Entrepreneurs of 2014 have a big night ahead of them, as NFTE celebrates another successful year of support for entrepreneurship training for at-risk youth worldwide.

Dagim G, the honoree of NFTE DC Region
Dagim G, the honoree of NFTE DC Region
Juan R, the honoree of NFTE North Texas
Juan R, the honoree of NFTE North Texas

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Organization Information

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.nfte.com
Project Leader:
David Seduski
Development Associate
New York, New York United States

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