NFTE NATIONAL YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP CHALLENGE WINNERS


2022

Left-to-right: Josh Kreuger, Thomas Vo, Abhinav Gorrepati

National Winners

18-year-old Josh Kreuger of South Technical High School in St. Louis, MO, with his business MODRN Media, a digital marketing agency that trains and employs content creators while offering budget-friendly video production and social media management services to small businesses in the same community.

17-year-old Thomas Vo of Nimitz High School in Irving, TX with his business Reheats, electric heated gloves for construction workers.

14-year-old Abhinav Gorrepati of Silver Creek High School in San Jose, CA, with his business CredX, an educational online platform that encourages financial literacy in teens through engaging lessons.


2021

Left-to-right: Amylah Charles, Carissa Lombardi, Madelyn Jackson

National Winners

17-year-old Amylah Charles of the Los Angeles Urban League in CA with her business CurlyCrownz, a haircare brand focused on 100% natural products for natural hair.

17-year-old Madelyn Jackson of Holy Trinity High School in Chicago, IL with her business P.A.C.A., a personalized autism communication app to help children and families.

16-year-old Carissa Lombardi of The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center High School in Providence, RI, with her business Legislation Navigation, an app to help voters understand the impacts of proposed legislation and help legislators analyze public sentiment.


2020

National Winner

Jose Rodriguez of The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center High School in Providence, RI, took first place and won the 2020 national competition with his business plan and pitch for Tasium, a company that develops specialized clothing for people on the autism spectrum. Inspired by his younger brother, who is autistic, Jose created a solution for people with autism and ADHD who need a readily-available outlet for their anxiety or hyperactivity. To avoid relying on fidget toys that are often lost or misplaced, he designed clothing with built-in sensory stimulation tools to release distractions and energy without interrupting others.

National Runners Up

Charlize Leon of Perth Amboy High School in in Perth Amboy, NJ, was a national runner up in 2020. She pitched her business, Gifting Bites, a mobile app that allows businesses to “gift” surplus food items to nonprofit organizations or consumers in need.

Avi Goel fromSilver Creek High School in San Jose, CA, was a national runner up in 2020. He pitched his business, GeoGenius, a web portal which offers comprehensive information, maps, pictures, and interactive quizzes to enable users to learn about every country in the world.


2019

Left-to-right: Aaron Trinidad, Ela Gokcigdem, Gabriel Sheikh

National Winner

Aaron Trinidad of Holy Trinity High School in Chicago, IL, took first place and won the 2019 national competition. After waiting until the last minute to complete his own community service hours for school, Aaron realized that nonprofit organizations sometimes struggle to get volunteers and students procrastinate before completing required service hours. Aaron’s solution is Lender, an app styled after Tinder that pairs nonprofits with volunteers based on their interests. Lender helps prevent students from waiting until the last minute to complete their service hours while bringing more volunteers to nonprofits.

National Runners Up

Gabriel Sheikh of Holy Trinity High School in Chicago, IL, was a national runner up in 2019. Gabriel conceived of his plan for Presistant, the ultimate presentation assistant, after realizing how much of a struggle he himself faced when presenting his business plan in his NFTE class. Using sophisticated AI features in his software and leveraging the existing technology of mobile phones, Gabriel’s app will allow presenters to measure and improve various aspects of their presentation.

Ela Gokcigdem of Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA, was a national runner up in 2019. An avid tennis player, Ela was frustrated that her earbuds were constantly falling out of her ears while playing and she was easily distracted by small noises. The noise-cancelling earbuds she owned weren’t cutting it. Why not create her own earbuds, with her own white noise technology? Ela’s business, ePearl Technologies, was born. She developed a new design for noise-cancelling wireless earbuds that don’t fall out. She created them with athletes in mind.


2018

Left-to-right: Joseph Franco, Kelsey Johnson, James Murray

National Winner

Kelsey Johnson of Los Angeles, CA, took first place and won the 2018 national competition. Her startup business, Kinky Kaps, manufactures and markets a special shower cap Kelsey designed for people with long, heavy hair. Kelsey’s NFTE teacher was Connie Moore-Kelly of Hamilton High School.

National Runners Up

Joseph Franco of Hayward, CA, was a national runner up in 2018. His product, F Connect – short for Foster Connect – is an app that connects foster youth to a trusted network of advisors as well as resources and tools to help with college applications. Joseph’s NFTE teacher was Kathrina Miranda of Mt. Eden High School.

James Murray of Davie, FL, was a national runner up in 2018. His product, Guardian Helper, is a smart wristband that helps parents prevent young children from wandering away. James’ NFTE teacher was Kristen Austin of Nova High School.


2017

Left-to-right: Nate Wheadon, Jasmine Adams, Clifton Jackson

National Winner

Jasmine Adams of in Charleston, SC, took first place and won the 2017 national competition. Her startup business, Smudgies, LLC, manufactures and retails money-saving fabric cloths that remove makeup with no water, no soap and no mess. Her NFTE teacher was Jonathon Davis of Bishop England High School.

National Runners Up

Nate Wheadon of St. Peters, MO, was a 2017 national runner up. His product Fudged UP! is an organic specialty fudge spread that comes in a variety of unique flavors. Nate’s NFTE teacher was Jake Lapinski of McCluer North High School.

Clifton Jackson of Iving, TX, was a 2017 national runner up. His startup business, CWC Pliers, patented a time-saving, multi-function combo tool used by professional electricians that Clifton designed while working as an apprentice electrician. His NFTE teacher was Rafael Paredes of Barbara Cardwell Career Prepatory Center.


2016

Winners: Anna Doherty & Hope Sacco of Baltimore, MD (Roland Park Elementary/Middle School)
Runner Up: Matthew Sarreshtehdari of Downey, CA (Downey High School)
Runner Up: Luke Beatrice of Framingham, MA (Joseph P. Keefe School)


2015

Winner: Crystal Sanchez of Lawndale, CA (Environmental Charter High School)
Runners Up: Urban Anam & Jannatul Rowshan of Queens, NY (High School of Eocnomics and Finance)
Runner Up: Kenneth Heurtas of Downey, CA (Downey High School)


2014

Winner: Lily DeBell of Baltimore, MD (Roland Park Elementary/Middle School)
Runner Up: Ambar Romero of Bridgeport, CT (Kolbe Cathedral High School)
Runner Up: Jesse Horine of Fort Mill, SC (Fort Mill High School)


2013

1st Place: Toheeb Okenla & Jesus Fernandez of South Holland, IL (Thornwood High School)
2nd Place: Dagim Girma of Alexandria, VA (T.C. Williams High School)
3rd Place: Juny Nguyen of San Jose, CA (San Leandro High School)


2012

Winner: Vincent Quigg of Downey High School in Downey, CA
Runners Up: Joziah Council & Jesse Council of Midland, PA (Franklin Center of Beaver County)
Runner Up: Edwin Romo of Painesville, OH (Thomas J. Harvey High School)
Elevator Pitch Competition Winner: Cale Morrow of in Dodge City, KS (Dodge City High School)


2011

1st Place: Haley Hoverter of Los Angeles, CA (Downtown Business Magnet School)
2nd Place: Shomari Patterson of Port Hueneme, CA (Boys & Girls club of Greater Oxnard)
3rd Place: Anthony DeFilippo & John Novas of Providence, RI (The MET High School)
Elevator Pitch Competition Winner: Jonathon Ovadia of Miami, FL (Miami Beach High School)


2010

1st Place: Nia Froome of North Valley Stream, NY (Prep for Prep)
2nd Place: Belma Ahmetovic of Wethersfield, CT & Zermina Velic of Hartford, CT (Sports and Medical Sciences Academy)
3rd Place: Crystal Vo of San Jose, CA (San Leandro High School)
Elevator Pitch Competition Winner: Steven Gordon of Brooklyn, NY (NFTE New York Metro BizCamp)


2009

1st Place: Kalief Rollins of Carson, CA
2nd Place: Zoe Damacela of Chicago, IL
3rd Place: Scott Paiva of New Bedford, MA


2008

1st Place: Jessica Cervantes of Miami, FL
2nd Place: Rodney Walker of Atlanta, GA
3rd Place: Amanda Loyola of New York, NY


2007

1st Place: Warda Ali of San Jose, CA
2nd Place: Christopher Houston and Johnnie Lovett of Chicago, IL
3rd Place: Daniel Uribe of Torrance, CA


2006

Left-to-right: NFTE Founder Steve Mariotti, first-ever NFTE National Champion Abigail Lewis, Thomas Dant, Jr., Lawrence K. Yamoah

1st Place: Abigail Lewis of Derby, KS
2nd Place: Thomas Dant, Jr. 
of Silver Spring, MD
3rd Place: Lawrence K. Yamoah 
of Chicago, IL