Jacksonville, Fla. – March 12, 2024 – EverBank and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) joined forces to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit among Duval youth through a dynamic competition held at EverBank Stadium on March 12, 2024. The event, which brought together students from Duval County Public Schools, showcased the power of mentorship, education and community collaboration in fostering the next generation of innovators.

“EverBank Builds is the name of our collective work and impact in our communities,” said Greg Seibly, chief executive officer of EverBank. “Today’s event underscores exactly what makes EverBank Builds a cornerstone of community relationships and service. By sharing their experience and expertise, our EverBank associates helped coach and guide the students who participated in this program. The students’ tireless efforts, coupled with NFTE’s mission, truly exemplify the power of community partnership. All of us at EverBank are proud to celebrate these students and the amazing things we know they’ll accomplish in the future.”

“At NFTE, we truly believe that entrepreneurship education has the power to change lives that change the world,” said NFTE Southeast Executive Director, Chris Brignolle. “Thanks to our partnership with EverBank, NFTE students have the opportunity to build their networks through coaching experiences with industry leaders, hone their public speaking skills through a business plan pitch competition on a stadium stage, and bring their creative ideas to life.”

The morning kicked off with a thrilling semi-final competition, where students vied for a spot in the finals. After much deliberation, Lingo-Key, Methane Motors, Thera Call and Voice Off moved on to the final competition on the grand stage.

The final competition teams saw a panel of VIP judges, including EverBank executives Renuka Patel and Mike Zambetti, alongside influential community leaders John Everett and Terrance Freeman, and NFTE alumna Bri Thomas, deliberate over the impressive pitches presented by the aspiring entrepreneurs. Their innovative ideas and unwavering determination impressed both spectators and judges alike.

The standout performance was for Voice Off, the business idea of Tereisha Chestnut and Jamie Ballard of Mandarin High School. The duo won first place and a spot at the upcoming May 2024 regional competition in Miami, where they will have the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial talents.

“It was an emotional experience being selected as a winner,” said Jamie Ballard of Voice Off. “There were so many good presentations from our classmates, which caused us to reflect on our performance. We both learned to slow down and think before speaking. The support from our parents, friends and community gave us the encouragement we needed throughout the process. Without this, we wouldn’t have made it this far.” 

The success of this event underscores the importance of fostering entrepreneurship among youth and highlights the transformative power of partnerships. Through continued collaboration, NFTE and EverBank remain committed to empowering the next generation of innovators and change-makers.

For more information about EverBank Builds® visit everbank.com/about

About EverBank

EverBank, N.A. is a nationwide specialty bank providing high-value products and services to consumer and commercial clients nationwide. As a pioneer in online banking, we offer convenient digital access for clients 24/7, in addition to phone banking services and a network of financial centers across Florida. EverBank’s commitment is to deliver to our clients high-performing, high-yield solutions backed by exceptional service, always giving them the advantage they expect, to make the most of their money. Visit everbank.com or connect and interact with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or X (formerly Twitter).

About NFTE

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.


Keri Bonfili

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