Capital Region Youth Entrepreneurs Advance to National Pitch Competition

Students Split $3,000 in Prize Money

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

Washington, D.C., June 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Imagine participating in a Shark Tank-style pitch-off as a young person, winning funds to further your business—and advancing from a regional competition to a national arena. 

The winners of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Capital Region Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Finals will do just that, taking their business ideas to New York in mid-October to vie for the title of National Champion and prizes from a pool of $18,000.

 Participating students presented their original business ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. The first- and second-place winners, who will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, will continue to Nationals. The third-place winner will receive $500.

  • 1st Place: Joy Moanda, age 13, Sports Shorts - Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore, MD
    • Sports Shorts are affordable, high-quality menstrual shorts that help females feel confident and comfortable while playing sports.
  • 2nd Place: Charles Duong, age 17, Nujjet - Falls Church High School, Falls Church, VA 
    • Nujjet is a headset and an accompanying app that collects brain data and sends it off to a small computing chip for processing, to train the user’s mind in line with their entertainment goals.
  • 3rd Place: Keenan Fraser, age 13, Hidden Stash - Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore, MD
    • Hidden Stash aims to provide a high-quality personalized money bank that will be hidden in plain sight, to help young people save money for the future and learn about financial literacy.

“Young people are changing the world—there is no question about it. We are so proud of every student and their commitment to entrepreneurship,” said Dr. J.D. LaRock, CEO of NFTE. “Each young entrepreneur’s innovative idea signifies an opportunity to address key challenges facing communities around the globe. We activate the entrepreneurial mindset in young people, and this is critical to growing businesses, economies, and communities.” 

The competition took place on June 8 at the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream with a panel of esteemed judges, including:

  • Matt AaronCEO, LUX Wealth Planning
  • Kirk BrownHead of K12 Programming, Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream
  • Jeff HargraveFounder and President, Mahogany Inc.     
  • Andre McCainFounder, HalfSmoke and NFTE alumnus
  • Keerthi Santosh VarierAssistant Director, EY, and Design Thinking Coach

The NFTE Capital Region Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge was presented by EY with signature support from Reference Point and Whiteford Taylor Preston, LLP, associate support from the Citi Foundation and Mary Kay, Inc. and support from CIBC.

About NFTE

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 in 25 states across the U.S. and offers programs in 18 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



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