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From a young age, Dara had always been interested in cosmetology; she was constantly trying new beauty and hair products. One day, a friend came to her with badly damaged hair and asked for her help. “I was inspired by my NFTE class which gave me the insight and understanding to begin developing my product,” Dara tells us.
Organically Clean is an organic hair conditioner that strives to stop hair breakage and damage caused by harsh chemicals found in many over-the-counter hair products.
“NFTE really changed how I view myself,” she says. “It helped me understand that obtaining an education would be critical to the development of my product and…owning my own business.” She dreams of giving back to her community by getting involved with local entrepreneurs and creating scholarships and startup funds for youth in her area who want to own their own businesses. Dara is currently at Morgan State University where she studies business. She also works for herself as a hair stylist.
Romney and Ishmael founded TIE IN, a company aiming to bring more diversity to the tech industry.
“[We knew] the best way to go about making the change was to give fellow minorities the competitive skills and experience they need to move from college into the workplace.” TIE IN outsources social media campaigns to minority students who need work experience.
Eventually, the two plan to branch out into coding, debugging, SEO services, and more. In the future, Ishmael wants to help other start-ups, and Romney hopes to fulfill his dream of opening an orphanage in his home province in the Philippines. Both boys are freshman at Berkeley City College studying business; Ishmael is VP of Finance for the Student Body and Romney is incubating another partnership, Solar Shade: a micro-coworking, outdoor-space project that leverages solar paneling.
Do you love yourself as much as you should? Anaïs can help. Her company, TheSimpleStudy, is a tattoo and piercing parlor specializing in the art of the “camo tattoo”: a technique of hiding scars, stretchmarks (which 90% of people suffer from) or other tattoos. Anaïs uses a “manual intervention technique” instead of the traditional tattoo gun, which is more comfortable for clients.
Anaïs is currently studying management and practicing tattoo creations, photography, and graphic design. She plans to open her own shop in a city.
“Images speak for themselves and thanks to social media, I have a tremendous window of opportunity to let the world know about my skills.”
Spider Lines is a revolutionary power line that would replace the rubber traditionally surrounding electrical lines with spider silk for added strength, durability, and safety. Ethan points out that stronger and more flexible power lines would mean less power outages and electrical fires. Spider Lines would also be the only biodegradable power line in the world, and certainly the first to ever be constructed out of an all-natural material. Ethan dreams not only of a massive replacement of all power-line rubber in the United States, but also of selling to other countries “in order to lower the CO2 count and help make a safer environment. The first signs of climate change are upon us and I wish to chase it.”
Ethan is a sophomore in high school, an artist, and an avid defender of climate change and the changes needed to combat it. “I have seen that all problems have multiple solutions.”
Both JianHao and Ruolin attend Shanghai Art and Crafts Vocational School and major in lacquer craftsmanship. Lacquerer Studio produces beautifully crafted lacquer-ware by grinding, polishing, carving, embedding, and coloring to create fashionable pieces that represent the ancient Chinese art form.
The studio, originally founded by JianHao, has been in operation for almost three years, has seven employees. Ruolin tells us she dreams of passing down her appreciation for the art form to the younger generation. The studio offers easy-to-follow DIY classes for students who wish to experience the process
of lacquer-making. The two have even agreed to donate their time to bring the DIY class into several schools in their community.
“I intend to expand the business considerably while I am studying for my bachelor’s degree,” says JianHao.
Diagnosed at a young age with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and (more recently) pericarditis, Morisa lives with chronic pain and was forced to miss school often in order to undergo treatments.
M JEWELS is a jewelry business that helps increase awareness about arthritis while also bringing joy, beauty, and healing to its sufferers. “RA affects 1.5 million people in the United States and nearly three times as many women are affected than men.” The company sells in person, at community fairs, online, and even one summer in the company store at Cleveland’s Metro-Health Hospital.
Morisa’s future plans include making M JEWELS a doctor-recommended product. “I know it’s going to be a process, but I’m willing to work and wait. My community needs innovators and entrepreneurs—this is a start.” Morisa is currently attending Cuyahoga Community College.
Day’Quon Henderson’s road to success began over two years ago in a STEM class when he and two of his peers were assigned a problem-solving capstone project. He was working with the nonprofit Best Buddies at the time, and decided to survey a teacher there. After talking with her about the most prevalent issues her students face, the team came up with the idea for Worducation: an app to help students with disabilities through word/picture association games.
The app is available today on Google Play, and Day’Quon hopes to put a team together soon in order to expand what Worducation can do. “As an entrepreneur, I have to help people who are in need and create a business that meets these needs. We want users not to focus on their disabilities but on their ability to learn!”
In 2016, Day’Quon was awarded the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award at the NFTE Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in DC and placed in the semi-finals at the NFTE National Challenge. He is a perpetual volunteer, giving his time almost daily to his church, school, teachers, and neighbors. He runs track and cross country and is a DECA student. Day’Quon is currently a senior in high school and interested in attending the University of Richmond.
DYLAN MARTIN, 16
Mill Brook Honey
“I had heard that honey bees were dying at an alarming rate, and my initial thought was: “Someone should do something!’” Dylan tells us. “Then I realized: no one was going to help, and if I wanted to change my generation’s “do nothing” reputation, then I would have to be the one to step up.”
Encouraged and mentored by his father, he mastered the art of beekeeping, and together, they have been harvesting honey for almost three years. “I really care for the environment, and this is our small way to help increase the honey bee population…and at the same time make a profit!” Research now supports the theory that eating local honey may help build immunity to local seasonal allergies, which is a great competitive advantage in his community.
Dylan’s plans for the future are only growing; “I plan to add five new hives every year so that when I graduate college I have the option to find another job or do this full-time. I also plan to teach my community how to raise bees on their own.” When not saving bees and making honey, Dylan is a varsity athlete for West Hill High School, throwing the javelin and wrestling. A semifinalist in the NFTE National Challenge, he was recognized by the Stamford CT Board of Ed. for his achievement in the NFTE course and competitions. Dylan hopes to attend Babson College to study entrepreneurship when he graduates.
Christina was prompted to created Tie It On: a business providing 100% customizable bowties that can be purchased either pre-tied or loose and are perfect for any occasion.
Christina says. “NFTE has taught me… that I matter and can make a difference... it’s less about the material possessions you obtain, and more about the skills you develop.” Recently, Christina participated in NFTE’s 2016 National Challenge and quickly sold out of her products during the event’s Expo. Future plans include setting up a website for Tie It On and eventually attending college (either UC Berkeley or UC Santa Cruz), where she is interested in studying business management, food sciences, filmmaking, and/or journalism.
Click & Help is a mobile app helping the elderly and those with physical disabilities). The app works as a means of communication between the user and bus drivers; the user can send a message to the driver when he or she is en route to a stop, allowing the driver to wait for a few extra minutes.
Since presenting her idea, Maren now has a business partnership with Wolfburger Verkehrs GmbH, which is helping to realize the app and push out the IT concept. Her hope is to have the necessary technology installed in buses by 2021. Later, she hopes to employ others with disabilities, utilizing their unique point of view to make the world a better place. She enjoys horsemanship and carriage-riding and has a very busy schedule balancing school and physiotherapy.
“We have both been affected in some way by bereavement and illness in our families.” One of the girls even lost her mother at a young age. “During that time, a resource that gave words of encouragement and support would have been very much appreciated.”
The girls combined their experiences with grief and created their company: When Life Gives You Lemons. The company produces uplifting books designed to support people who suffer loss, trauma, or from illness. The books are supported by Sligo Cancer Support Centre and are available online and in local bookshops, pharmacies, and markets in Sligo.
The girls have lots of future plans including the development of an “anti-stress pack” and new books. When Life Gives You Lemons donates 20% of its pro ts to Sligo North West Hospice and Sligo Cancer Support. And these organizations, in turn, are referencing and promoting the girls’ book. Both girls attend Mercy College in Sligo, Ireland.
These four boys attend a vocational school specializing in cooling, electricity and air conditioning. In one lesson they learned that 15–20% of all car accidents occur due to tiredness. “We decided to take part in the fight against car accidents.” Working together, they developed Auto Cooler, a built-in water bar unit for cars. The unit utilizes the car’s air conditioner to cool the water in a tank connected to a tap which runs directly to the passenger area. This way, cool water is always within easy-access while driving, which they hope will keep more drivers alert while on the road.
“After the experience of [creating] the plan and building the prototype, I’m not afraid to deal with problems and technical challenges anymore,” Ibraim tells us. “Making the website gave me a good feeling, a sense of pride, as if I were the CEO of a real company,” says Matan. Now I feel I can dream big.”
Matan is an apprentice at the Weizman Institute of Science. His hobby is computers, and he likes working with electrical appliances. Aderajo is an apprentice for the Orbotech Israel, Ltd. and is fascinated by science and nature. Both Mohamad and Ibraim are apprentices at Kirur Air Condition Company. Ibraim plays on Ramla’s soccer team while Mohamad is dedicated to health and physical fitness.
Cassandra’s father worked in the military as a dog handler assigned to the presidential K-9 unit; and once retired, he became a full-time dog trainer. Because of this, Cassandra grew up with a healthy love of dogs and knew early on that she wanted to work with animals when she grew up.
In elementary school she began training dogs alongside her father, and a few years ago she began to volunteer as a vet tech trainee at Shane’s Veterinary Medical Center. During this time, she noticed that both her father and the vet doctors were complaining about the same problem: feeding the animals at a consistent time each day was nearly impossible! And so she developed the idea for Pawsitive Feeder: “a stand-alone, app-driven, food dispensing unit for furry family members.” Pawsitive Feeder gives pet-owners the opportunity to interact with their pet from afar, and provides manual and automatic dispensing times and medication reminders.
Cassandra is currently in talks with Gralen for a potential national distribution agreement and is working with them to build an Amazon pet store online. Her company is sponsored by Strongpoint Natural Pet Food and pledges to donate a bag of cat/dog food to an animal shelter for every Pawsitive Feeder purchased. Cassandra is currently a freshman at Los Angeles Harbor College with goals to transfer and double-major in animal science and entrepreneurship.
Uriel was inspired by the ever-increasing pollution problem in Mexico City; using his school laboratories and the support of his teachers, he has set out to make a difference with Purika’an. Purika’an is a net, created by leveraging technology and recycling plastics, which works to purify CO2 emissions from cars - using 100% recycled materials. Uriel is being encouraged to present his prototype at commercial car and traffic expos in his community in order to build a customer-base.
“In my high school, we know we have very little opportunity to go to a University, but [NFTE’s] BizCamp totally changed my point of view. I will do all the process to start as an electronics engineer next year and also plan to start my business as soon as I turn 18.”
Last year, Uriel was First Place winner at the 2016 EY BizCamp with Funación E. He plans to attend Instituto Politécnico Nacional after he completes secondary school and dreams of launching Purika’an once he is old enough.
Miguel graduated from Babson College in 2012 with great aspirations to “become a change-maker” in his community. He started MV Consulting: a freelancing firm specializing in assisting nonprofits and startups with planning, marketing, and event management. The company has been in operation for almost five years. “My main competitive advantage is me,” Miguel tells us, “... my passion to help others transfers to the customers I work with to help either ignite or fan the flame within them.”
Miguel is very involved in his community, often lending a hand with youth activities through his church. He even mentors boys from single-parent households; “by empowering them, I hope the next generation will have a group of young men that will hold onto their values no matter what comes their way.” Miguel currently works for Catholic Charities as a Youth Development Coach and is considering returning to school to obtain his Master’s in either social work or nonprofit management.
Growing up on a farm in Brazil, Carlos was surrounded by natural products for most of his childhood. Now he brings this healthy approach to his work in the United States, helping his customers to avoid products full of harmful chemicals. Shine Soaps is an all-natural soap company using vegetable juices, essential oils, and natural fragrances. Carlos has been in business for seven months, selling online and in-person through sales representatives, and he sees no end in sight.
“The most important thing I’ve taken away is how to communicate well and how it can change the way people view me.” Carlos was recently nominated for a Posse Foundation Scholarship, and he was the winner of the 2016 NFTE Startup Summer Investment Panel. He gives back to his community by volunteering, both as a computer literacy teacher and as an assistant teacher in his school’s NFTE class. Future plans for Shine Soap include obtaining an official business license and getting his product in stores.
Carlos is a high-school senior with plans to attend Trinity College.
Annalin is a high-school softball pitcher. A few years ago, during a game, she was almost hit by a line-drive to her chest. The near-miss made an impression, and she began conducting research about similar injuries to the one she had almost suffered. She found that high-impact from a ball to the chest can cause severe damage and even death. “I don’t want to see anyone get hurt playing the sport they love.” Soon after, she launched Soft Catch: a dry-fit, compacted, chest-shield shirt designed to protect athletes. Soft Catch has been in operation for almost two years, is available online, and has two employees. Annalin hopes to ultimately sell to major leagues, where the danger is greatest.
Annalin was recently a runner-up in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Elevator Pitch Competition. She has been asked to speak about her business at an Irving Chamber of Commerce meeting and at the NFTE North Texas Youth Entrepreneurs Rally. Although Annalin is still a sophomore in high school, she is already dreaming of applying to Texas A&M to attend their business program when the time comes.
Briana was inspired to start her business after witnessing friends and family members dealing with sickness and pain. She wanted to create a safe and legal way to help alleviate their pain without having them turn to “harmful and harsh medicines” or illegal drugs that could lead to incarceration. Baked Goods, LLC is a medical edible business centered around baked goods and homemade drinks infused with cannabis; it has been operational for almost a year and a half and remains competitive by only sourcing the purest and most organic cannabis.
Briana is aware that she is in a controversial industry in today’s market. “Personal experience leads to different points of view... So, whether I’m talking to employees, vendors or customers, it’s important for
me to remove uncertainty and make sure everyone is on the same page.” In the future, Briana would like to expand her business, selling both directly to customers and through outside health-care vendors.
“My ability and love of learning were the driving forces behind my business. I wanted to learn graphic design and so I taught myself, and three months before I was even in the NFTE classroom I had clientele.” Aniya’s business, Gold Graphic, is a graphic design company focused on helping brand and launch small businesses and startups in the St. Louis area.
Competing as a small graphic designer, Aniya doesn’t feel the pressure of competition because she claims, “the job is so demanding and the market is constantly replenishing itself! 90% of startups fail, so my job is to make sure those startups are not failing because of my lack of representation.” The business has been a real game-changer for Aniya. She tells us that, “the money I’ve made with Gold Graphic has kept gas in my car and kept my business well supplied so I could keep it running, and the number one thing I’ve learned is: you get out what you put in.”
Long-term, she would like to pass down her business to future entrepreneurs who share her drive and passion. She also hopes to one day begin working in the film industry with her own production company. Aniya currently works at a retirement community in St Louis, is a senior in high school, and defines herself as “an activist and leader within her community.”
Since childhood, Arif has wanted to be a businessman in the fashion industry. Bow T. is an online retail business specializing in bow ties to provide professional and confident clothing styles. Arif offers unique designs based on different local ethnic cultures (ex: Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian) and uses recyclable materials to make his bow ties, doing his part to help save the earth.
But perhaps the most winning part of Arif’s plan is his community outreach. He intends to set up sewing workshops for members of the community who are interested in learning the skill. He also wants to set up self-confidence and positive self-image workshops for secondary school students (13–16 years old). For the last three years, Arif has been a Senior Prefect Mentor in his school and plays saxophone, clarinet, and drums. He plans to attend the Institute of Technical Education (Central).
The Tech Trade-In Company is a service that buys/sells used and/or broken electronics such as phones, media players, video game consoles, and laptops, and guarantees the best price on the market. The company has been in operation for two years.
Mark and Jorge won third place at the NFTE South Florida Regionals during their freshman year. The two dream of expanding soon, “[we want to] create jobs for other young people like [us],” and they would like to revisit old business ideas they’ve had. “My view has expanded dramatically. My sights were set way too short before—I am capable of much, much more.” The boys plan to give back by donating old, working devices to low-income communities and providing access to the internet.
Mark is an excellent communicator. Jorge has been generating income from online sneaker-sales since he was thirteen and can replace an iPhone screen in under 30 minutes. Both Mark and Jorge are seniors in high school.
Ever since Lucas was a little boy, he and his father would do woodworking projects together. When Lucas was asked to develop a business idea in school, his father suggested using the trade he already specialized in. And so, Charleston Cutlery was born, producing hand-made cutting boards and cutlery.
Today, Lucas has a fully functioning website, three physical store locations, three sales associates, expanding revenue, and a plan to be available via Amazon soon. Charleston Cutlery doesn’t mass produce; they don’t use scraps from larger products; they refuse to jump on the “customization” bandwagon; and, uniquely, they integrate materials like sterling silver, shark teeth, pearls, and shells to fill in imperfections in their wood. Charleston Cutlery also offers free clean-up and waste removal after environmental disasters in the area (such as the recent Hurricane Matthew). Not only is it a way to give back to the community, but it also serves as a resource for their repurposed wood supply.
Recently, Lucas was the winner of the Iron Eagle award for football and acted as president of the Newcomers/New Students Club. He is currently a senior in high school with plans to attend Babson College. “This has completely changed my views and goals in life. Now I want to major in business and entrepreneurship to take what I’ve learned so far to the next level.”
The Daniel Treanor Memorial Award has been made possible through a generous grant from the MCJ Foundation. The foundation established the Daniel Treanor 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 current and future NFTE students who have succeeded while faced with health or physical challenges.
AARON BROWN, 17
San Leandro, CA
marketing; community building
In Aaron’s sophomore year of high school, he suffered a severe accident while playing football; it led to a serious ligament replacement and even emergency surgery. In the following weeks, Aaron experienced feelings of isolation and depression and feared failing out of school. He even considered taking his own life. At the bottom of his depression, Aaron opened up to his NFTE teacher about what he was going through. Over the next few weeks, his teacher helped direct his energy into creating a business plan for the NFTE classroom competition. Suddenly, his confidence resurfaced. “After winning my first competition, I exploded with a storm of tears because I knew I wasn’t in the same mental state I had been in just a month before. My [in]ability to be involved in team athletics is now overwhelmingly shadowed by the good I can do in socially responsible business.”
Aaron is the Second Place winner of the Kapor Entrepreneurship Center Youth Hack-A-Thon, a NFTE BizCamp coach, and the Second Place winner at the Catapult Entrepreneurship Youth Business Plan competition. His current business, KTY (Know The Youth) Innovation, assists businesses in their marketing efforts towards the Generation Z market by offering brand consultation, social media management, outreach marketing, and youth advisory.
KTY’s mission is to build a bond between local businesses and the youth in the Bay Area to create a stronger local economy and diversity in community involvement. “[My past] sparked the entrepreneurial flame within me [and I found] my passion: empowering youth.” In the future, Aaron dreams of traveling the world to share his entrepreneurial journey, becoming the kind of father who spends time with his children, and eventually starting another company; one that will address even larger world problems.