NFTE Class of 2016

NFTE Class of 2016

Let us just begin by recognizing that though our competition season is exciting and eye catching, it is not a sufficient representation of all the work that has been done this school year. The NFTE Class of 2016 is 1,500 students strong, who even if they don’t know it yet, have enhanced their entrepreneurial mindset through taking the NFTE course. Our students have been pushed to work on one project all year long. They have applied their learning to real world problems and opportunities, and they have employed solution oriented thinking and analysis to their business plans.

Each and every NFTE student should be proud to say that they are NFTE 2016.

We do have a competition season however, and we would like to highlight our winners today!

2016 marked the First Annual 30 Second Pitch contest as a part of the Finals challenge. In addition to the 6 finalists, 8 “fast pitch” students were selected to present to the crowd during the cocktail hour. These students networked in the crowd, introducing themselves to as many guests as possible before delivering their formal 30 second pitch. Guests then voted for their favorite pitch by investing their “NFTE Bucks”, ultimately deciding the winner.

Potty Party, an interactive game that inserts directly into your toilet, aims to help young boys learn how to use the bowl properly, and was the winning pitch from Thornwood High School student, Marcus Hill.

Each student who presented in the 2016 Chicago Metro Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge brought their unique, thorough, and impressive business plans to the audience with confidence, preparation and pizzazz. They all did a wonderful job, and should be celebrated not only for their work on their plans, but for getting up in front of a crowd of 200+ people and sharing their years’ work.

So many accomplishments were built into this one night, and it was truly special to watch.

The NFTE program is not over yet for our 1st and 2nd place winners. They will be working hard over the summer to perfect their plans; preparing to present them at the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge to be held October 6th, 2016 in New York City. They will compete against the 1st and 2nd place winners from the other NFTE regions around the country (New York Metro, New England, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, South Florida, North Texas, St. Louis, Los Angeles Metro, and Bay Area).

The winner of this National competition will receive $25,000 in venture capital and countless connections to help get their business off the ground. Needless to say, the stakes are extremely exciting!

2016 NFTE Finals-0982.jpg
From left to right: Malachi Smith, Deandre Allen, Ethan Velez

It is our pleasure and honor to introduce the 2016 winners!

Our 1st place winner, Deandre Allen currently attends Chicago Tech Academy. He has developed an app that provides teachers with a social media platform to share best practices, form professional learning communities, and participate in professional development.

The 2nd place winner, Malachi Smith, is a current student at Thornwood High School in South Holland, IL. His business, Mini Mi Figurines, will design and manufacture personalized figurines to preserve memories in a fun and unique way.

Though not heading to New York for the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challange, our 3rd place finalist, Ethan Velez, deserves no less acclaim. Ethan’s business idea is to harvest spider silk to replace the rubber coating on electrical power lines. Spider silk is stronger and more flexible than the currently used rubber, which Ethan hopes will decrease the quantity of power outages for his customers.

Keep your eye on the NFTE Chicago Metro blog in the coming weeks for features of each of our amazing finalists!



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