Student teams representing NFTE global partner organizations in Austria, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico and Singapore joined the three winners of NFTE’s 2021 U.S. National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in a virtual pitch-off on April 6 and 7. The Challenge included a semi-final and final round of competition, with the winners determined by a panel of VIP judges and recognized at a gala celebration.
Divya Sijwali (17) and Parth Puri (16) from New Delhi, India, won first place, receiving $5,000 for their business, Tyron, a fashion footwear brand that employs local cobblers to craft stylish, quality products from recycled and upcycled tires.
Two runners-up, each taking home $1,000, were Nana Sekimoto (17) from Hiroshima, Japan, whose app, Gomimin, aims to make environmental cleanup more social fun by enabling users to earn in-game currency to pick up litter, and Ava McLoughlin (17) of Donegal, Ireland, whose business, Irish Tweedscapes, specializes in unique, hand-crafted Magee tweed gifts that celebrate the country’s heritage.
“This new competition gives distinguished young entrepreneurs from all over the world an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas,” said Dr. J.D. LaRock, NFTE’s President and CEO. “Whether here in the U.S. or abroad, NFTE students often create their businesses as a direct response to an immediate community need. Exposing our youth to peers from other countries and allowing them to hear firsthand about both their problems and their innovative solutions is an invaluable addition to the entrepreneurship education we provide. I congratulate all the WYEC participants for their creativity and fortitude.”
The final round was judged by Laura Benson, Managing Director, Operations, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC; Diana Diaz, Strategy Director and Chief of Staff, EY LAN; Paul Fagan, Founder, ActionCOACH Business Coaching; Barlow Flores, Senior Vice President, Community Relations Northeast Leader, Citi; and Valerie Jackson, Chief Diversity Officer, Zuora.
Photos, video clips, and detailed biographies are available on request for all the World Challenge competitors, along with information on the winning businesses.
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a global nonprofit organization that provides high-quality entrepreneurship education to middle and high school students from under-resourced communities, as well as programs for college students and adults. NFTE reaches 50,000+ students annually, with program in 25 states across the U.S. and in 20 additional countries. We have educated more than a million students through in-school, out-of-school, college, and summer camp programs, offered in person and online. To learn more about how we are promoting inclusive capitalism and building the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs, visit www.nfte.com.