NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The brightest young entrepreneurial minds will gather and compete at global non-profit, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)'s, 2012 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, presented by MasterCard , in association with Kathryn W. Davis. On October 11 th at The Times Center in New York City, 37 student finalists representing 34 businesses from around the country will contend for top honors and for the chance to win over $25,000 in cash and prizes to help bring their business ideas to life or advance their education.
"For 25 years, NFTE has played a pivotal role in entrepreneurship education using a proven program that engages young people to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and is committed to empowering youth to imagine and experience the promise of the future," said Steve Mariotti, founder of NFTE. "Thanks to support from sponsors like MasterCard, we are able to witness the future of entrepreneurship at this year's National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, where our business savvy teens and leaders of tomorrow, will present their innovative ideas for new products and services."
The competition finalists, all NFTE regional winners from last school year, were required to develop and present original business plans as part of their entrepreneurial studies in middle or high school. As part of their coursework, NFTE students receive hands-on training in launching a business and learn the real-world relevance of math, reading and writing. The NFTE curriculum reinforces students' critical thinking skills and provides them with tools to help them take control of their futures and think entrepreneurially.
"MasterCard is committed to supporting NFTE in its mission of providing teens from low income communities with a program that keeps them inspired to stay in school and to plan for a successful life," said Patricia Devereux , group head, Corporate Philanthropy & Citizenship at MasterCard. "Thanks to NFTE, these impressive students now have the potential to not only create jobs for themselves, but to also support the expansion of our global economy. We are honored to help make a difference in these young entrepreneurs' lives."The finalists from 13 different states will compete in morning and afternoon rounds in front of judges including top entrepreneurs and executives from 40 companies including Bad Boy Worldwide, SAP America Inc., and E*TRADE Financial Corp. The top three will go onto contend for the title of "Best Young Entrepreneur" by presenting their business plans for an audience of 400 invited guests and a distinguished panel of judges:
- Kevin Liles, Founder and CEO, KWL Enterprises
- Shaun Osher, Founder and CEO, CORE
- Deborah Serianni, Global Head, Consumer Marketing, MasterCard Worldwide
- Connie Tang, President and CEO, Princess House
- Zenab Ali, 15, Natural Hues ( San Jose, CA) When Zenab Ali signed up for the NFTE course, she didn't realize at first that it was the same class her older sister had taken several years ago. Zenab decided not to tell her parents unless she, like her sister, won the business plan competition. Zenab won with Natural Hues, an organic, henna-based hair color for men and women. Before NFTE, Zenab never imagined that business was in her future, but now she's focusing on getting her website up, settling on a bulk manufacturer for her packaging, and acquiring the necessary licenses.
- Vincent Quigg, 18, TechWorld ( Downey, CA) Vincent Quigg was always passionate about technology, looking up to companies like Apple and working at Best Buy. Because of that, Vincent created TechWorld, a personal electronics repair and customization service, specializing in Apple products, for his NFTE course. He also plans on being an official drop-off location for cell phones for soldiers and to donate a percentage of sales to One Laptop Per Child.
- Adam Zerbst, 17, Adam's All Natural ( Charleston, SC) Adam Zerbst has wanted to start a business for as long as he can remember, but never knew what he would get into. What it turned out to be is an all-natural trail mix called Adam's All Natural. Adam, who suffers from mild cerebral palsy, also plans to expand his line into snack bars.