Xochitl Guzman, founder and operator of Create Awake, a Los Angeles based small business, has won the Steve Mariotti Venture Award Pitch Challenge from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).
The Mariotti Award, named for NFTE founder Steve Mariotti, includes a $25,000 cash investment in the winning business. The award was announced May 12 to mark the start of National Small Business Week.
“I am honored and humbled to win this award and support from NFTE,” Guzman said. “You hear all the time how important small businesses are – for our economy and for jobs – but we don’t hear much about the people running these businesses or the organizations such as NFTE which help create and sustain them.”
The award, funded by Aspire Giving, is open to those over 18 years old who have completed NFTE’s core entrepreneurship education program and run a licensed, revenue producing business for at least two years. More than two dozen business leaders applied for the 2014 Mariotti award and Create Awake was selected by business leader judges from among three finalists.
“Xochitl and her business are an inspiration to young people everywhere,” said Amy Rosen, President and CEO of NFTE. “Her creativity and ability to leverage the entrepreneurship mindset are great examples of the life-changing return we earn by investing in young entrepreneurs.”
Create Awake is a jewelry company which infuses craft work with five generations of ancestral healing knowledge based on spiritual and cultural traditions of Mexico and South America. Their products are sold internationally through their website.
Guzman completed the in-school NFTE curriculum in 1994 in the San Francisco Bay area and earned her college degree from San Francisco State University, completing the Landmark Education “Curriculum For Living” Leadership course in 2006.
Watch the video pitch Xochitl submitted for consideration: