Thursday, May 2, 2013

Scenes from the NFTE 25th Anniversary Gala - April 23, 2013

NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) held their annual Gala at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday April 23, 2013 in celebration of their 25th anniversary.  A unique program, NFTE teaches teenagers practical problem solving skills needed to take a business idea from conception to reality.  Students learn everything from how to estimating the target market of their entrepreneurial ideas to writing & pitching business plans.  

NFTE students get a head start in the business world by engaging in hands on business experiences, such as negotiating prices with wholesalers to analyzing magazine ads for learning about customer segmentation.  In an time where 25% of the youth are either under or unemployed, NFTE aims to solve this problem by teaching practical business skills that are lacking in the traditional education system.  You can find more information on how to support and get involved with NFTE here.

Below are some scenes from this year's gala - which included a small business fair of entrepreneurial ventures run by NFTE students.  We had a chance to meet a talented group of smart, articulate teens who ran everything from internet businesses to wedding cakes! 

Guests getting seated for the awards ceremony.  This year's gala honors the founder of NFTE Steve Mariotti, a former finance executive who switched careers to teach disadvantaged youths practical business skills.
Dinner tables were beautifully decorated with blue sequins, dinner started off with delicious roasted beet salad appetizer

NFTE students showcased their businesses during the cocktail reception.  Here, Jushawn Carter  (17 years old) of Atlanta displays cakes from her business CakesbyFourteen.  For every client, Jushawn sketches out the design of the cake and crafts all the decorative features over several days - each cake runs around $500.
Jushawn made this cake specially for NFTE's 25th anniversary!
Jennifer LaSala runs a candy company called Sugar Coated Heaven. She also recently signed a lease in Providence, Rhode Island to open a brick and mortar shop.  Only 19 years old, Jennifer has already experienced the challenge of securing a small business load and dealing with bureaucratic challenges of leases and kitchen health inspections.
Muneera Al-Maneea of Saudi Arabia has created a dust sensor that can measure levels of indoor dust pollution.  This device can be used by those who have allergies and are concerned about air quality in the home.
Close up of Muneera Al-Maneea's dust sensor - she has designed this device so that it can be manufactured at a price affordable to consumers.
Bethany Garraway of the United Kingdom of Sole Sale presents her prototype of dress shoes with a removable heel.  The 2 inch heel is attached to the shoe with magnets and can be removed to be converted to a flat!
Guests were invited to text donations during the awards ceremony.  Texted donations and messages were projected onto the stage screen.
Sponsors of this year's gala include Mastercard, MicrosoftGoldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative, Etrade, New York Life, and Ernst & Young.

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