NY Metro Area Youth Entrepreneurs Advance to National Pitch Competition

Students Split $3,000 in Prize Money

New York, NY, June 17, 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) Mid-Atlantic NY Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Finals will do just that, competing once again in 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 two runners-up will each receive $250.

The winners are:

  • 1st Place: Rania Gaston, age 16 - Gourmet Guider, Academy of Finance and Enterprise, Queens, NY
    • Gourmet Guider is an app that helps those with dietary limitations create recipes made especially just for them and includes features such as grocery store finders, tutorial videos, and subscription boxes. 
  • 2nd Place: Nelly Caceres, age 17 - Your Pick-Nic, Academy of Finance and Enterprise, Queens, NY
    • Your Pick-Nic offers an unforgettable, luxurious experience with beautiful pieces of picnic furniture and a broad selection of food choices, as well as set-up and clean-up service and a selection of themes. 
  • Runner-up: Eleanor Donohue, age 17, and Lucas Giantomidis, age 18 - SnackScan, Westhill High School, Stamford, CT
    • SnackScan is a nutrition label scanner app that pulls up environmental information and health information about each ingredient in a product, providing users with the information they need to prevent health risks and lower their ecological footprint.
  • Runner-up: Sankalpa Hegde, age 16 - DesiRoots, Academy of Finance and Enterprise, Queens, NY
    • DesiRoots is a skincare line specializing in ayurvedic medicine, using natural ingredients that are a staple in Ayurvedic skincare such as turmeric, and besan (chickpea flour). 

“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 16 at Microsoft, with a panel of esteemed judges, including:

  •             Kyle BoldenPartner, EY
  •             Jimmy Chow, Director of Community Relations, Mastercard
  •             Pam Habner, CEO of U.S. Branded Cards and Lending, Citi
  •             Yajaira Lopez, Executive VP and Region President, Tri-State Region, Santander


The NFTE Mid-Atlantic: NY Metro Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge was presented by EY, Santander and Mastercard, with signature support from Microsoft and associate support from Citi Foundation, Mary Kay, and Merrill.

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 www.nfte.com.



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