Los Angeles' Shomari Patterson and Hayley Hoverter to Compete at the 2011 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

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Two Los Angeles High School Students to Compete for Cash to Start Their Own Businesses, Further Their Education on October 6th in New York City

“The NFTE program equips young people with the skills to succeed as young entrepreneurs and empowers them to realize new possibilities,” says NFTE Greater LA's Executive Director, Estelle Reyes.

Hayley Hoverter of Downtown Magnets High School and Shomari Patterson of the Boys & Girls Club of Oxnard and Port Hueneme are among the finalists competing in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, presented by MasterCard Worldwide, in association with Kathryn W. Davis, in New York City on October 6th.

The finalists represent 30 businesses, all of whom participated in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)’s program that teaches young people to seize educational opportunities and start businesses, were first and second place winners of their Regional Business Plan Competitions, and have moved on to the finals to compete for seed capital.

“The NFTE program equips young people with the skills to succeed as young entrepreneurs and empowers them to realize new possibilities,” says NFTE Greater LA's Executive Director, Estelle Reyes. “We are proud to have Hayley and Shomari represent Greater LA at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in NYC. Their innovative business ideas coupled with their focus on social responsibility underscore the role that business can play in improving our communities.”

“Representing Greater LA in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York is an amazing life-changing opportunity,” states Hayley Hoverter,16. “Everything I learned in my NFTE class was applicable to real life. It really helped me discover my inner entrepreneurial spirit. I’m ecstatic!”

“I am so excited about participating in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York and am very confident that we will bring the title back home,” proclaims 19-year-old Shomari Patterson. “NFTE has helped me grow into the businesswoman I have always wanted to be.”

Finalists were required to develop and present original business plans as part of their entrepreneurial studies at school based on curriculum created by NFTE. 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 to their businesses. NFTE studies reinforce students’ critical thinking skills and provide them with tools to help them control their futures and avoid the lure of the streets.

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 U.S. states and 10 countries around the world through our network of program offices and licensed partners. Entrepreneurs are a powerful driver of economic growth and NFTE sows the seeds of innovation in students worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.nfte.com.

About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is a global payments and technology company.  It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities—such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances  - - easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Learn more at http://www.mastercard.com or follow us on Twitter @mastercardnews.

About Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines, the Official Domestic Airline of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, is pleased to present the winners of the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge and the winner of the Online Elevator Pitch Challenge with two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines to enhance his or her business through travel.  Stop searching for low fares and start traveling!  Go to http://www.southwest.com – the only place to find all of Southwest Airlines’ low fares to the places you love!

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Andrew Scott
ASA Public Relations
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