New York, NY (June 10, 2023) – Global entrepreneurship education nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has named five local student businesses as the winners of its annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The young entrepreneurs distinguished themselves through innovative business ideas, which they will present at the national finals in New York on October 3 to compete for the National Champion title and cash prizes from a pool of $18,000.

Competitors pitched their original business concepts to a panel of esteemed judges: Joel NC Barnett, SVP/Director of Commercial Affinity Banking at Fulton Bank; Delfina S. Correia, Director, District Executive at Santander; Vincent Halleran, Assurance Managing Director at Ernst & Young LLP; Samuel Johnson, Co-Founder of Re-present Consulting and NFTE Alumnus; and Scorpio Rogers, PhD., Vice President at Mercy College. They selected a first-place winner to receive $1,500, a second-place winner to receive $1,000, a third-place winner to receive $500, and two runners up to each receive $200. The winners are:

  • 1st Place: Hannah Russell from Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy with his idea for Plateau, a custom platform shoe company, with a detachable top and sole design.
  • 2nd Place: Tationna Pack from Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy with her idea for One Minute Vending, a multicultural beauty vending machine business that offers affordable hair care products for minority students on college campuses.
  • 3rd Place: Misbah Sifat from Westhill High School with his idea for Mentor Fitness, an app that allows users to receive personalized workout routines from real mentors and physical trainers.
  • Runner up: Helena Sandoval from Brooklyn High School of the Arts with her idea for FITNATION, an online fitness community for women.
  • Runner up: Mia Paredes-Cabrera from Academy of Finance and Enterprise with her idea for Curly Course, a free mobile app that provides curly hair education and recommendations on curly hair products.

“We are so proud of these brilliant young minds and in awe of their commitment to entrepreneurship and making a difference in this world,” said Dr. J.D. LaRock, CEO of NFTE. “Through their creativity and original ideas, our students demonstrate the power of their generation to transform their communities. When young people are given a platform to sharpen their skills and rise to their full potential, our economy and society thrive.”

The NFTE Mid-Atlantic Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge was presented by Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) and Santander, with associate support from the Citi Foundation and Reference Point.

For media inquiries regarding NFTE, please contact Vanessa Hsia at 929-551-3813 or [email protected]; or Denise Berkhalter at 917-281-4362 or [email protected].

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 to learn more.