Local Students Split $3000 in Business Pitch Competition

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NFTE Baltimore Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge winners advance to national championship in September

“In the current uncertain climate, young people are realizing more than ever that entrepreneurship offers an opportunity for personal empowerment." - Dr. J.D. LaRock, President and CEO, NFTE

Schools may be closed, but that didn’t stop these highly motivated young entrepreneurs from refining their business plans and preparing their pitches for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Baltimore Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Despite logistical obstacles stemming from the pandemic, this annual competition, the culmination of NFTE’s yearlong entrepreneurship curriculum, took place on time—and online. Participating students presented their original business ideas by video to a panel of esteemed judges, who named three winners. The first and second place winners, who will receive $1500 and $1000, respectively, advance to NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in September, where they will compete for a grand prize of $12,000. The third-place winner will receive $500.

  • 1st Place: Sawyer Ross, 13 from Roland Park Elementary Middle School, won with a business pitch for MyBox, which provides sick children with a curated box of age-appropriate items to cure worries, provide smile and offer a space for belongings.
  • 2nd Place: Douglas Pittman, 13, & Grace K. Chew, 15, from Francis Scott Key Elementary Middle School, won with their pitch for Autistic Artistics, which uses artwork and storytelling that informs, entertains and enlightens others about the cognitive and emotional points of view from a child with autism to assure children with autism that they are perfect as they are.
  • 3rd Place: Aaron Larson, 13, from Francis Scott Key Elementary Middle School, won with a pitch for Aww, Crap!, dog poop bags designed to be easier and more pleasant to use, which will increase the number of people cleaning up after their furry friends.

“In the current uncertain climate, young people are realizing more than ever that entrepreneurship offers an opportunity for personal empowerment,” said NFTE president and CEO, Dr. J.D. LaRock. “Employers look for candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset, which the NFTE curriculum fosters. Whether or not they ultimately run their own companies, our students are being set up to succeed, and we are eager to support their endeavors.”

Student business pitches were judged by a panel of experts that included:

  • David Cahn, WTP
  • Derrick Chase, StandUpBaltimore
  • Venroy July, Miles & Stockbridge
  • Detra Mackey Miller, M&T Bank
  • Arun Subhas, EY

The NFTE Baltimore Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge was presented by EY, with additional support from Microsoft and Whiteford Taylor Preston.

About NFTE
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a global nonprofit that activates the entrepreneurial mindset and builds startup skills in young people from under-resourced communities. Reaching more than 100,000 middle and high school students annually, NFTE works with schools and community partners in 25 U.S. states and 10 countries around the world. Leveraging classroom teachers and volunteers from top-tier companies, NFTE’s research-based model teaches students how to identify a business opportunity and launch a business; helps them learn about the range of jobs and occupations available to them; and develops their “entrepreneurial mindset” — a set of skills including creativity, adaptability, communication, and collaboration that leads to success in any career. Since 1987, NFTE has educated 1.2 million young people worldwide, helping thousands launch businesses and companies of all sizes. Learn more at nfte.com.

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Joanne Lessner
Lambert & Co for NFTE
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Brenda Duong
Lambert & Co for NFTE
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