Part III, The Road to Nationals: How NFTE Graduates Around the Country Are Getting Ready for October 3

PART III: Inspiring businesses from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington

As I mentioned before, the super bowl of youth entrepreneurship is being held on October 3rd at The Times Center in New York City, 39 students representing 35 businesses from around the country will contend for top honors and for the chance to win over $25,000 in cash and prizes from Mastercard to help bring their business ideas to life or advance their education. The evening will also feature an appearance by all-star entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs.

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The NFTE Philadelphia Team.

From fighting bullying, to baking fortune cookies, to the world of fashion, these students from the Nation's Capital, Baltimore and Philadelphia are inspiring and I know they will stand out with their innovative business ideas.

Valerie, 19 (Philadelphia, PA) is a senior at Esperanza Academy. Her Business, V-Shop, is an online dressing room. Using a digital avatar, she has created a platform for customers to see themselves in clothing they are interested in purchasing. This allows them to imagine the look before they shop, more efficiently planning their time and making better clothing choices. She is attending Johnson and Wales University.


Valerie, owner of V-Shop.


The NFTE DC team.

According to Asia, 17 (Baltimore, MD), order to be remembered, you must be first, best or different. This is Asia's propeller for her personal, entrepreneurial and humanitarian paths. Although she's had many quirky business ideas, Fortunate! is certainly the first of many potentially prosperous ventures. This business serves up fortune cookies that come in diverse shapes, colors, flavors and personalities. Asia strives to become a local food staple, well lending a helping hand to nonprofits through charitable contribution. Later, Asia plans to establish more legendary and influential companies. But for now, she wants the world to "EAT HER WORDS!"


Asia, owner of Fortunate!

Zoey, 16 (Baltimore, MD) isn't your average fashionista. Although she loves the look of many high end brands and keeps up with the latest trends, she knows that true fashion develops when you have found the look and feel that works for you. Upcycling is the process of turning outdated fashions into current ones; this is the mission of Déjà au Vintage. From dresses to jeans, Zoey can take something on the verge of being garbage and turn it around to a most desirable piece of fashion. This hobby of refurbishing clothing has spawned into a scalable and profitable business that Zoey plans to grow into a boutique one day. Zoey would like to take a year off before college but then wants to either study to be a doctor or take higher level entrepreneurship classes.


Zoey, owner of Déjà au Vintage.

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The NFTE Baltimore Team.

Sadly, Ajani, 13 (Washington, DC) has seen and experienced how bullying can deeply impact the course of a person's life and know much it hurts both mentally and physically. Therefore, he chose to take a stand and create Crossroads Empowerment Services. Crossroads provides innovative services and products that address the core of bullying while finding ways to both peacefully and safely resolve it. Ajani plans to attend college someday, and NFTE has provided him with a different perspective on the range of what he might study.


Ajani, owner of Crossroads Empowerment Services.

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