NEW YORK, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an international non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring young people from low-income communities to stay in school and recognize business opportunities, today announced that 31 student finalists representing 29 businesses from around the country will compete for top honors in the 2011 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, presented by MasterCard Worldwide, in association with Kathryn W. Davis. The teen entrepreneurs will square off on October 6 at the Hudson Theatre at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City for a grand prize of $10,000 to help bring their business ideas to fruition or advance their education.
"MasterCard is committed to supporting NFTE in its mission of providing today's youth with opportunities to plan for successful futures and to take control of their lives through the skills acquired in entrepreneurship education classes," said Patricia Devereux, group head, Corporate Philanthropy & Citizenship at MasterCard Worldwide. "Organizations like NFTE show students how entrepreneurship plays a significant role in creating new jobs and increasing economic opportunities in this highly competitive global economy. We are honored to help further that mission."
"We are very excited about the drive, passion and creativity of this year's participants in the national competition," said Steve Mariotti, founder of NFTE. "These young entrepreneurs are proof that economic hardships are no obstacle to becoming what you want to be in life and that taking ownership of your future is empowering. And thanks to the support of MasterCard Worldwide, we are excited to have the opportunity to recognize so many amazing young entrepreneurs from around the country."
Black Enterprise is delighted to be an official media partner this year and will be distributing free copies of their magazine to each of the 31 finalists. Black Enterprise representatives will also be on hand as judges in the crucial quarter-final round, where they will have the opportunity to share feedback with all the participants.
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. The 29 finalists, from 15 different states, will compete in morning and afternoon rounds in front of judges including top entrepreneurs and executives from Ernst & Young, MasterCard Worldwide, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and BET. From these rounds will emerge the top three youth entrepreneurs.
The three finalists will then compete 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:
- Matthew J. Audette, Executive Vice President & CFO, E*TRADE Financial Corp.
- Donald A. Coleman, Chairman & CEO, GlobalHue
- Patricia Devereux, Group Head, Corporate Philanthropy & Citizenship, MasterCard Worldwide
- Daymond John, Founder & CEO, FUBU and Star, Shark Tank
- Deryck van Rensburg, President & General Manager, Venture & Emerging Brands, Coca-Cola North America
- Shazi Visram, Founder & CEO, HAPPYBABY
- Tina Wells, CEO, Buzz Marketing Group
The 2011 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge grand-prize winner will take home $10,000, with the runner-up winning $5,000 and the second runner-up winning $3,500. All three winners will also receive two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines and a laptop computer donated by Samsung. The grand-prize winner will also receive a $5,000 Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship, sponsored by GlobalHue.
About the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
Too many young people today drop out of school and struggle to break the cycle of poverty. Since 1987, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has been inspiring young people to pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses, and succeed in life. By providing entrepreneurship education programs relevant to the real world, NFTE empowers students to own their educations in and out of the classroom and to find their own path to success. Hundreds of thousands of students have discovered opportunity all around them through entrepreneurship via thousands of certified educators worldwide. NFTE supports active programs in 18 states and 10 countries around the world. Entrepreneurs are a powerful driver of economic growth and NFTE sows the seeds of innovation in students worldwide. For more information, visit www.nfte.com.
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SOURCE Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship