NFTE announces finalists in 2009 National Youth Entrepreneurship Competition

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    The Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an international non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurship among youth in low-income communities, announced today 27 student finalists who will compete for top honors in the 2009 OppenheimerFunds/NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, presented by Kathryn W. Davis.  Ranging in age from 13 – 19, these top finishers in regional and local contests will present their business plans to a panel of distinguished judges and vie for a $10,000 grand prize during the competition in New York City on October 7th.

    The 27 finalists, whose business ideas range from food products to academic tutoring to web design services, are:

    California – Carson – Kalief Rollins, Downey High School
    California – Fresno – Brandon Duran, Hoover High School
    California – Los Angeles – Jacqueline Garcia, Soledad Enrichment Action Firestone Academy
    California – San Leandro – Alejandra Bonilla, San Leandro High School

    Connecticut – Hartford – Danny Huynh, Sport & Medical Sciences Academy
    Connecticut – Norwalk – Mariah James, Norwalk High School

    Florida – Miami – Stephanie Traber, Miami Southridge Senior High School
    Florida – West Palm Beach – Clynisha Clark, DeGeorge Boys & Girls Club
    Florida – West Palm Beach – Brianna Hollins, West Palm Beach Boys & Girls Club

    Georgia – Atlanta – Zicuria Ussery, Maynard Holbrook Jackson High

    Illinois – Chicago – Corey Barksdale, Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
    Illinois – Chicago – Zoe Damacela, Whitney Young High School

    Kansas – Topeka – Cassondra Sapata-Smith, Topeka High School

    Ohio – Cleveland – Alisha Wiggins, John Hay Campus High School

    New York – Staten Island –Kevin Abernethy, Curtis High School
    New York – White Plains – Angie Ocampo, White Plains High School
    New York – Yonkers – Erika Miguel, Liberty LEADS

    Maryland – Baltimore – Alayna Alberti, Mother Seton Academy
    Maryland – Riverdale – Kyle Calavetinos, Parkdale High School
    Maryland – Baltimore – Keenen Geter, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
    Maryland – Laurel – Jada Nicome, Northwestern High School

    Massachusetts – New Bedford – Scott Paiva, New Bedford High School

    Pennsylvania –    Philadelphia – Hilary Small, George Washington High School
    Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh – Lana Baslan, Taylor Allderice High School
    Pennsylvania –    Pittsburgh – Tressa Nemcik, McKeesport Senior High School
    South Carolina – Rock Hill – Thomas Brown, Rock Hill High School

    Texas – Dallas – Kalissa Armstrong, David W. Carter High School
    Texas – Dallas – Angela Mojica, H. Grady Spruce High School

    “We congratulate all of the finalists,” said Steve Mariotti, founder of NFTE.  “These are some of our nation’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs, and they’re all proving that economic challenges are no barrier to dreaming up an idea for creating future wealth.”

    The 27 finalists completed a semester- or year-long program designed by NFTE.  They received hands-on training in launching a business and, through the process, learned the real-life relevance of math, reading and writing; reinforced their critical thinking skills, and received tools for helping them control their futures and avoid the lure of the streets.  Scientific research by Harvard University has shown that youth who are taught entrepreneurship are more likely to be focused on academics and develop leadership aspirations.

    “The NFTE program offers a way to define a teen’s identity,” said Amy Rosen, President and CEO of NFTE. “It also addresses the vital need for innovative ideas for closing our nation’s achievement gap among inner-city youth. We are extremely proud of all of the finalists, and we look forward to seeing them achieve great things in both higher education and business.”

    This fall in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, a documentary entitled TEN9EIGHT which chronicles the inspirational stories of last year’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge will be commercially released by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio. The film aims to inspire not only teens – but also educators, policy makers, and thought leaders who can see firsthand the powerful change that entrepreneurship education can have on disenfranchised young people.

    Contacts:
    Amy Jaick, (212) 576-2700 X229; ajaick@goodmanmedia.com
    Havelock Nelson, (212) 576-2700 x235; hnelson@goodmanmedia.com