NEW YORK, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-three outstanding teen entrepreneurs from 10 different nations, alongside their entrepreneurial educators and a host of celebrity business leaders will be honored at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship's "Dare to Dream" Gala on Wednesday April 18th at the New York Marriott Marquis. The event, presented by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and MasterCard Worldwide, will also recognize Ernst & Young as well as Wes Moore and Joy Thomas Moore for their long-standing commitment to entrepreneurial education and support of NFTE. Special guest Willie Geist, host of "Way Too Early" and co-host of "Morning Joe", will act as this year's emcee and Daymond John, star of ABC's "Shark Tank" and Founder of FUBU will serve as the celebrity host for the evening.
NFTE is an international non-profit organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring youth in low-income communities around the world to pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses, and succeed in life. Founded in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, NFTE has reached more than 400,000 students and trained 5,000 teachers across 50 countries since its inception.
"These budding entrepreneurs are the future of the American dream and are creating their own success story through hard work, determination and creativity. It reminds me of when I was just getting started, selling knit hats on the streets of Queens," said Daymond John, founder of FUBU Clothing Company. "I'm proud to support these promising young teens as they strive to continue growing and expanding their businesses."
This year the 2012 NFTE Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards will honor Ernst & Young, LLP for its long-standing commitment to fostering and supporting entrepreneurship worldwide. Jim Turley, Chairman of Ernst & Young will be accepting this award on the company's behalf, which recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its own prestigious Entrepreneur Of The Year® Awards program. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program celebrates those individuals who are building and leading successful, high growth companies that are the lifeblood of our economy, and recognizes them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.National bestselling author, youth advocate, Rhodes Scholar and entrepreneur, Wes Moore , and his mother, Joy Thomas Moore , President, JWS Media will also be honored with the NFTE Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. For nearly a decade, Wes and Joy have been strong advocates of NFTE, supporting the organization through classroom support, acting as mentors and helping to raise awareness of NFTE across the country. Beyond NFTE, both Wes and Joy have a long history as champions of youth engagement and education. While attending John Hopkins, Wes founded STAND!, an organization which mentors students from juvenile detention centers in Baltimore, while Joy, an entrepreneur herself having started JWS Media, is an award winning journalist for her work in the public service and awareness sector. "For over two decades, our curriculum has linked real issues our students care about – financial security and improving their circumstances – to foundational academics and key workplace skills like communication and collaboration which increases their chance of building a better future. Our students, alumni and teachers around the world are our global ambassadors and a true testament to NFTE's achievements," said Amy Rosen, President & CEO, NFTE. "The Gala is also a time where we can celebrate and recognize the entire community that supports NFTE such as Ernst & Young and Wes and Joy Moore. Their support along with many other individuals and organizations has enabled us to have such a profound impact on the lives of thousands of students." The Global Enterprising Educators of the Year Award, presented by MasterCard Worldwide, will honor select teachers from NFTE's offices around the world. It is through their inspiration, encouragement and insights that many of these young people are able to succeed. In addition, NFTE will honor 33 graduates with the Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, presented by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. This award recognizes NFTE program graduates, such as a student in Miami who turned his passion for basketball into a full-fledged business, to an artist in India who created a decorative art business using a simple household item – all of whom have embraced the entrepreneurial mindset and displayed an exceptional commitment to their own ventures and ranked as the best of the best among their peers. The following four students are examples of the 2012 Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year winners:
- Andres Cardona, 18, South Miami Basketball Academy, ( Miami, FL) An outstanding basketball player and facing tough times at home, Andres decided to create a job instead of simply look for one. Recognizing his community lacked an affordable option for youth to hone their basketball skills, Andres established the South Miami Basketball Academy to reach less-privileged and troubled youth. Beyond just basketball skills, the academy focuses on each individual and stresses the importance that their work ethic in sports must carry over to academics in order to be successful.
- Tina Ray, 20, PortFOILios ( Kolkata, India) Tina has been interested in painting since she was very young, and when her aunt suggested she use foil as a material, she was instantly taken with the idea. Using a simple household item, Tina has created an unconventional out-of-the-box decorative art business, creating printed foil art that can be customized to a purchaser's specifications.
- Khaled Khalifa, 15, Delicious New York – Honey-Made cookies ( Arlington, VA) Determined to help others enjoy a delicious and healthier "snacking alternative," Khaled found a way to develop a low-calorie version of the New York cookie (Black & White cookie). By substituting honey for sugar and using only natural ingredients in a recipe of his own devising, Khaled successfully knocked down the calorie count from 320 to 109 without sacrificing flavor.
- Renita Williams, 19, iCollege Process ( Chicago, IL) After missing important deadlines during her college application process, Renita leveraged skills she developed from NFTE to realize her problem could be turned into a viable business opportunity for other prospective college students. She developed iCollege Process, a mobile app that functions as an interactive college application checklist. It helps busy, college-bound students keep track of multiple applications so they don't miss important deadlines or send incomplete applications.
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