Though a punishing spring nor’easter had grounded flights and caused transportation delays up and down the Atlantic coast the night before, the day dawned sunny and mild as we made final preparations for our 2018 Day of Learning on March 22. And by late afternoon, as our guests made their way to Cipriani Wall Street for the Global Showcase, the mood was warm.
The evening’s honors went to our dedicated volunteers, outstanding young entrepreneurs and enterprising educators from across the globe.
NFTE’s 2018 Global Showcase, presented by Mastercard, featured alumni and teacher delegations from the United States and around the world. The Showcase gave young 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. 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 – inspired by Maricruz’s own 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.”
Earlier in the day, students attending the Global Showcase had 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:
Lechai’ 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.