Meet some of the inspiring young people who found their paths to success by participating in the NFTE program.

2013 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge winners
Jesus Fernandez and Toheeb Okenla
T&J Soccer
South Holland, IL
NFTE Class of 2013

Chicago high school students Toheeb and Jesus needed a business plan for their entrepreneurship class at Thornwood High School in South Holland, Illinois. When imagination failed them, Toheeb & Jesus turned to their shared interest and greatest passion: soccer. From there T&J Soccer was born.

Read about Toheeb & Jesus' winning businness.

Daniel Blank
Bureau Blank
New York, NY
NFTE Class of 2004

Daniel Blank grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he went to Northampton High School, but didn’t have the opportunity to take a NFTE course.  However, after attending a summer entrepreneurship program at Babson College, he was inspired to continue. 

“As long as I can remember I wanted to start my own business. I realized in high school that building strong brands was an area where creativity and business overlapped, so I took an internship at a small design firm,” says Daniel. 

Read how the NFTE program helped Daniel start his own successful design firm.

Andres Cardona
Elite Basketball Academy
Miami, Florida
NFTE Class of 2010

Andres Cardona excels at basketball. Unfortunately, his community offers few basketball leagues for young athletes, and personal training is too expensive for most families. With such limited options for kids to hone their basketball skills, Andres decided it was up to him to provide an affordable, quality alternative.
“The difference between my business and that of my competitors is that we don’t just ‘coach,’ we focus on our athletes individually,” says Andres. “We give every single client our undivided attention, which allows us to build long lasting relationships that extend beyond the basketball court.”
Learn how Andres' basketball academy got started.

Natasha Spedalle
Wink & Flip
Astoria, NY
NFTE Class of 2005

At 8 years-old, Natasha watched the Academy Awards on TV and drew the red carpet fashions she saw, changing them to suit her own ideas. At 13, she enrolled in a pre-college design class at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

At 14, armed with a work permit, she discovered that New York City stores were only hiring 16 and 18 year olds. She put her experience of reading over a dozen fashion and design magazines each month with her knowledge that fashion jewelry coming into the country made its first stop at NYC's wholesale district, and decided to start her own business.

Read more about Natasha.

Meet other NFTE Success Stories

Jordan Anderson | Linden Carty | Galit Tassi and Dvir Dvidovich | Stephanie Foxworth | Xochitl (Kusikuy) Guzman | Amber LiggetJohnnie LovettRobbie Martin | Bruce & Glen Proctor | Vincent Quigg | Robert Reffkin | Laima Tazmin