“NFTE helped me in the most difficult times I’ve encountered, when I first moved to the U.S., and created a community of people whom I can trust and seek out for guidance, both in business and life-wise.”

—Carlos Eduardo Feitosa
  • Started experiencing skin problems when he first came to the U.S. from Brazil.
  • While ideating about a business for his NFTE class in high school, he decided to solve his own problem and develop a gentler, all-natural soap.
  • Pitched Shine Soaps at the NFTE New York Metro Entrepreneurship Challenge but didn’t qualify to compete at nationals.
  • Enrolled in NFTE Startup Summer, determined to refine his business plan and work on his pitch, ultimately winning Investor Panel funding.

The idea for all-natural Shine Soaps was born when Carlos took his first NFTE course in high school. Growing up on a farm in Brazil, Carlos was surrounded by natural products. After moving to the United States, he noticed he was developing skin problems. He believed the cause was his use of name-brand products full of chemicals.

He decided to solve his own problem by developing a gentler, all-natural, chemical-free soap enriched with botanicals. After some experimentation at home in his kitchen, the product was developed. He did pretty well pitching Shine Soaps at NFTE’s regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in the New York metro area that year, but he didn’t qualify to compete at nationals.

Determined to improve, Carlos enrolled in NFTE Startup Summer, where he met some of the NFTE mentors who continued to advise him well after he completed the program. With their guidance, he refined his business plan and worked on his pitch. At the end of the summer, he won the highest funding award at the NFTE Startup Summer Investment Panel, taking home $3,000 in seed funding to grow Shine Soaps. Later that year he made it to the semifinal round in NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The entrepreneurial mindset helped him again when his college plans were disrupted due to an immigration paperwork issue. He found a job with a tech startup and devoted all his spare time to his business, developing additional soap scents and expanding his product line with new types of liquid soaps, body butters, hand creams, and balms.

After just two years, he was able to resign from his job at Amino Apps to focus full-time on his business. Carlos found himself with a thriving startup of his own that included multiple product lines sold via an online store and through sales representatives.

Carlos said his NFTE experience was pivotal in his life and the most profound impact NFTE had was in helping him learn how to not be discouraged by the problems of his circumstances — but instead to go out and decide his own future.

Carlos likes to give back to his community by volunteering. He has been a computer literacy teacher in his community and a volunteer at local NFTE events. He even served as an assistant NFTE instructor for a class at his old high school. Today Carlos has U.S. residency status and travels extensively as a Delta Air Lines flight attendant.