Bay Area Students Selected as "Young Entrepreneurs of the Year"

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Annual competition taps teens for entrepreneurship skills - turning hardship into triumph.

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Bay Area announced that Christian Abrego from Menlo-Atherton High School and Andrew John Kutches from Turning Heads of San Francisco were selected as the winners in the 14th annual nationwide "NFTE Young Entrepreneurs of the Year" competition. NFTE is an international nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and business skills to low-income young people.

"Nothing is more rewarding than empowering young people with the belief that they can make a difference in their lives," comments Gerald Richards, Executive Director NFTE Bay Area. "We have seen what happens when students get engaged in their education; they want to learn when they have a practical way to apply the concepts," added Richards.

Abrego, 16 years old, is from East Palo Alto and launched Young Sprouts Event Marketing. Kutches, 20 years old, started Kutches Construction Company. Both students participate in classes using NFTE curriculum where they learned the skills to build a business. Abrego and Kutches flew to New York City for NFTE's "Salute to the Entrepreneurial Spirit" awards dinner. Winners receive a cash prize to serve as working capital for their businesses or to fund future educational pursuits.

NFTE, with the financial support of such national sponsors as The Goldman Sachs Foundation has been working with low-income young people for more than 20 years, teaching students to channel their creativity and turn their hobbies and dreams into viable businesses.

NFTE's entrepreneurship education program teaches students the business skills they need to start their own small business, while reinforcing basic academic skills. Richards adds, "Many neighborhoods are filled with talented children who just need help finding their talents. NFTE's goal is to give young people the skills and confidence to unlock their true potential, so they can improve their lives and their communities."

Research shows that NFTE's program has a strong and positive impact on many of its graduates. A study conducted by Harvard University Graduate School of Education indicates that youth entrepreneurship programs such as NFTE are particularly effective at keeping students from low-income urban backgrounds on the academic track and can be a significant force in driving them toward high achievement and leadership.

Further, a recent study conducted by Brandeis University has shown that when compared to a control group, NFTE graduates are 30 times more likely to start their own businesses, and they are 20 times more knowledgeable about entrepreneurship and basic business concepts.

About NFTE
The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (http://www.nfte.com) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, whose mission is to teach entrepreneurship to young people from low-income communities to enhance their economic productivity by improving their business, academic, and life skills. Since 1987, NFTE has reached over 150,000 youth and trained more than 4,100 Certified Entrepreneurship Teachers. Currently NFTE has active programs in 25 states and 13 countries.

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LEAH WILLIAMS

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