Innovative ideas were on display as first-year NFTE students competed at NFTE DC Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge semifinals on May 7. Young entrepreneurs presented their business ideas to a panel of judges in the hope of advancing to the next level of competition, where they can win cash prizes and qualify to move up to national competition.
Three student businesses emerged as finalists in the semifinal pitch round and will advance to the NFTE DC Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge finals on May 29. Meet the regional finalists and their businesses:
- Oxon Hill High School seniors Sydney Avelino and Shemari French, founders of Say Cheese!, pitched a business aimed at changing the way photos are taken. Their innovation provides software and hand sleeves that allow users to take photos from over 50 feet away with subtle movements of the hand. Avelino and French’s NFTE teacher is Ashley Montgomery.
- Oxon Hill High School junior Kennedy Penn and Oxon Hill senior Carlos Aranzana, founders of Lead Locator pitched a business idea for a user-friendly device that allows consumers to test the levels of lead in their water at home. Penn and Aranzana’s NFTE teacher is Ashley Montgomery.
- Wakefield High School junior, Ela Gokcigdem, founder of E-Pearl Technologies, pitched a company that specializes in affordable tech products. E-Pearl’s first product is a set of rechargeable, noise canceling, secure fit headphones that are created for active consumers. Gokcigdem’s NFTE teacher is Maureen Naughton.
Congratulations to all the NFTE DC Metro competitors, and good luck to these five young entrepreneurs who will be competing in the DC Metro regional finals!