NEW YORK, NY (Nov. 17, 2023)—Global nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) announces Raneem Al Suwaidani as the winner of NFTE’s second annual World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Held annually, the competition showcases the incredible talent and creativity of young entrepreneurs from around the globe.
Presented by Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) and Zuora, with support from PayPal and Santander, the Nov. 16 event brought together 23 students from 11 different countries to compete in a high-stakes business plan pitch competition at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. NFTE’s 2022 National Champion Josh Kreuger of St. Louis and Al Suwaidani, the 2023 National Champion from Providence, Rhode Island, represented the United States in the competition.
Al Suwaidani impressed the judges with her innovative business idea, Lilypad, a food truck rental opportunity for BIPOC entrepreneurs to test their culinary concepts in a low-cost, risk-free environment. As the winner, Al Suwaidani will receive $5,000 to further develop her entrepreneurial venture. Three runners-up were also recognized for outstanding business ideas. Sindhuja Venkataraman from ENpower in India was awarded $1,000 for her business concept, MyRoots. Additionally, Tadeo Noguera and Sebastián Rodriguez representing Fundación Educación para el Futuro (FEF) in Argentina received $500 for their business idea, GreenBug. Misaki Nakamura of Career Link in Japan received $500 for her business concept, Aladdin.
“NFTE’s students are not only aware of the world’s problems but are eager to use their entrepreneurial minds to solve them,” said NFTE CEO Dr. J.D. LaRock. “As CEO of NFTE, I witness their passion for innovative ideas that make the world more equitable and sustainable and goods and services more accessible and affordable. Congratulations to Raneem and each of our global competitors for demonstrating the impact entrepreneurship education has on youth success and communities worldwide.”
The winners were selected by a distinguished panel of VIP judges, including Julia Beardwood, Founder & CEO of Beardwood&Co.; Jennifer Dorre, Sr. VP of Business Transformation at the KnitWell Group; Andee Gerhardt, Senior Director of Learning and Talent Enablement at Zuora; Victor Salama, Executive Director at the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation; and Helene Tuling, Foreign Service Officer, Branch Chief at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Visitors’ New York Branch.
During the event, NFTE announced that it has declared Nov. 17, 2023, as Youth Entrepreneurship Day to recognize the importance of fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among young people. NFTE sought and received a Presidential letter from the Biden Administration, as well as proclamations recognizing the day in Dallas; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Massachusetts; Texas; and Washington, D.C.
“NFTE’s programs equip students from under-resourced communities and diverse backgrounds with skills to own their futures,” noted the proclamation. “Entrepreneurship education is proven to help close the achievement gap and fuel a future of a new generation of diverse entrepreneurs and business leaders.”
The annual world challenge included a Day of Learning that brought together the next generation of diverse world leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers who hope to inspire a greater future. This year’s challenge also followed NFTE’s Nov. 15 UN Global Goals Conversation featuring a thought leader discussion on the topic “Healthy & Resilient: Adapting to a Changing World.”
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Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) ignites the entrepreneurial mindset with unique learning experiences that empower students to own their futures. A global nonprofit founded in 1987, NFTE provides high-quality entrepreneurship education to middle school, high school and postsecondary students. NFTE brings the power of entrepreneurship to students, regardless of family income, community resources, special needs, gender identity, race, or ethnicity. NFTE has educated more than a million students, delivering our programs in school, out of school, in-person, online, or through hybrid models. Visit nfte.com to learn more.
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