NFTE Awards the World’s Top 2018 Young Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Teachers Recognized at Global Showcase

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Citi and Stuart Halpert of First Washington Realty receive 2018 Volunteer Awards

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“It is a privilege to honor the recipients of the Global Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Teachers of the Year from our program,” said Shawn Osborne, President and CEO of NFTE.

Outstanding young entrepreneurs and teachers from around the world were honored on March 22nd in New York City at the NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) annual Global Showcase, presented by Mastercard. NFTE is an international nonprofit that helps young people in under-resourced communities activate the entrepreneurial mindset and build business skills, laying the groundwork for a successful future.

The NFTE Global Showcase featured alumni and teacher delegations from the United States and around the world. The Showcase gave alumni an opportunity to network, as well as display and discuss their business products. Alumni were recognized as Global Young Entrepreneurs and the most outstanding teacher in each participating region received the Global Enterprising Educator Award. The evening also honored Deneen Moore-McDonald of Baltimore, who received the 2018 John C. Whitehead Global Teacher of the Year Award, and recognized volunteers who are dedicated helping activate the entrepreneurial mindset in today’s youth.

Additionally, the winner of the Daniel Treanor Memorial Award, made possible through a generous grant from the MCJ foundation, was honored at the Global Showcase event. The foundation established the memorial fund with an endowed gift to honor Daniel Treanor, a NFTE graduate who was stricken with cancer and passed away in April 2002. This fund is intended to honor NFTE students who have succeeded while faced with health or physical challenges. This year's recipient, Maricruz Contreras, is the 16-year-old founder of lupebuilders, a service that helps design and build animal safe-spaces, that was conceived after their experience combatting depression through the power of pet therapy.

“It is a privilege to honor the recipients of the Global Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Teachers of the Year from our program,” said Shawn Osborne, President and CEO of NFTE. “Now more than ever, it is clear how important a strong entrepreneurial mindset is to future success in the innovation economy. These recipients are doing wonderful things in their communities around the world, and I have no doubt they will continue to achieve great things.”

Citi was the recipient of this year’s NFTE Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award. Over the course of the partnership, Citi employees have provided over 3,000 hours of volunteer service to NFTE students. Citi was chosen to receive this honor, based on number of hours, number of volunteers, reach and engagement across all markets, as well as quality of participation in NFTE pathway programs. These Citi volunteers are a core and valued component of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative to prepare young people to compete in today’s job market. Since 2014, the Citi Foundation has invested over $6.5 million in NFTE to help empower and equip young people to compete in a 21st century economy.

“Having an entrepreneurial mindset is key to career success in today’s evolving world of work,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation, who accepted NFTE’s 2018 Corporate Volunteerism Award on behalf of all Citi employees. “We are pleased to support NFTE as part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, and are grateful to the dedicated Citi volunteers who help prepare and inspire budding entrepreneurs. These talented young men and women make the mentorship experience equally rewarding for our volunteers.”

NFTE’s Individual Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the Alper Family Foundation, was given to Mr. Stuart Halpert, Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor at First Washington Realty. As a volunteer in South Florida for more than six years, Mr. Halpert has served as a guest speaker, competition judge and business coach. He also recently spearheaded the effort to expand NFTE programs to Palm Beach County, and is currently a business coach with two NFTE classes in that region.

Thanks to his dedication, commitment and partnership, NFTE expects to continue to grow throughout Palm Beach County, impacting even more students. He tirelessly promotes volunteer opportunities in his community and with his colleagues, as well as donating not only his time but through financial contributions. He adopts the class that he volunteers in throughout the school year.

The NFTE Global Showcase took place at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York City. Before the event, students participated in a Day of Learning, also sponsored by Mastercard and held at the Convene Conference Center in Manhattan. The young entrepreneurs discussed their business models, learned about branding, and participated in activities with leaders from Mastercard, Google, and Communicate4Impact.

Here are the alumni entrepreneurs who were honored at the NFTE Global Showcase:

Lecha’ Guy, 14, from Baltimore, launched Chas Mehndi Artistry, a temporary tattoo service that lets clients express themselves “creatively but not permanently.”

Natalie Nieves, 17, from the Chicago Metro area, developed an online service called Debaters United that acts as a network for debaters around the country and helps them formulate their cases.

Jose Rubio, 18, from the Los Angeles Metro area, started Small Glances, which sells community-specific t-shirts that tell a story.

Olivia Nguyen, 28, from New England, formed the company Fiyabomb, under which she creates gallery art pieces, works as an instructor for painting parties, and gives painting lessons, while also working as a muralist and art dealer.

Cheyenne Sookoo, 18, from the New York Metro area, created Events on Canvas, a company that specializes in live painting at events, ranging from weddings to corporate conferences.

Clifton Jackson, 18, from North Texas, launched CWC Pliers which designs and manufactures new and innovative tools, the first of which is a patent-pending 3-in-1 plier tool for electricians.

Donovan Williams, 19, from the Philadelphia Metro area, founded DJ Don Will, a DJ service that designs, produces and distributes event-related merchandise through an online store and at event venues.

Mathew Galvez, 18, from the San Francisco Bay Area, started a clothing line called LOTTA WORLDWIDE, representing San Francisco natives.

Cindy Aoun, 20, from South Florida, created Koi Infinity, a company that makes fashionable handmade jewelry integrating symbolic crystals and charms.

Destiny Davis, 20, from the St. Louis Metro area, launched DestinTees Custom Tees & Apparel, a custom apparel business that offers screen printing, vinyl and sublimation services.

Arti Shala, 16, from the Washington, DC region, created Shala Tech, a tech accessory business that currently produces wireless chargers and cases for the iPhone 6, 6s, and 7.

Global young entrepreneurs from eight other countries including Belgium, Germany, Ireland, India, Israel, China, Singapore, and Mexico, were also recognized, as well as the entrepreneurship teacher counterparts from each country. More than 400 guests attended the event, including global leaders from business, government, education and philanthropy.

About NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship)
NFTE is an internationally recognized nonprofit that activates the entrepreneurial mindset in young people. Research shows that the entrepreneurial mindset—skills including innovation, self-reliance, comfort with risk, communication, and problem-solving—prepares young people for lifelong success. Equipped with the mindset, as well as the business and academic skills that NFTE teaches, NFTE students are ready to thrive in the innovation economy no matter what path they choose. NFTE focuses its work on under-resourced communities. Through its nationwide network of U.S. offices, NFTE programs reached almost 35,000 students in over 1000 schools last school year. Partnerships in eight other countries allowed NFTE to serve an additional 40,000 young people internationally. Learn more at

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Alyssa Miller
(973) 615-1292


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