Students win $3,000 in Shark Tank-style pitch competition and advance to national finals

Boston, June 4, 2024 — Global entrepreneurship education nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has named four local student businesses as the winners of its annual New England 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 Oct. 10 to compete for the National Champion title and cash prizes.

Competitors pitched their original business concepts to a panel of esteemed judges, including Jill DelGrosso, Vice President, Global Field Effectiveness at Zuora; Patrick Good, Assurance Partner at Ernst & Young LLP (EY US); Sharon Keeley, SVP, District Executive for Boston Metro at Santander Bank, N.A.; and Vasant Narayan, CEO & Founder of GATO. They selected a first-place winner to receive $1,500, a second-place winner to receive $1,000, and two runners up to receive $250 each.

  • 1st PlaceJoahluis Molina from The MET High School in ProvidenceRhode Island, with his business idea That Junk Removal Company, which is a full-service junk removal company serving the Rhode Island community.
  • 2nd Place: Xander Faria from New Bedford High School in New BedfordMassachusetts, with his business idea Radiant Rise Clocks, which features a built-in alarm clock and lamp that displays natural sunlight 15 minutes before the alarm is set to go off, to help alleviate feelings of sleepiness and fatigue in early risers.
  • Runner Up: Aiyanna Rodriguez from the High School of Commerce in SpringfieldMassachusetts, with her business idea Dancing Broke, a dance studio that provides a judgment free zone to dance.
  • Runner Up: Victor Duque from The MET High School in ProvidenceRhode Island, with his business idea GoLyte, which is a wall-mounted electrolyte dispenser to elevate the hydration needs of all.

“The NFTE New England youth entrepreneurs never cease to amaze me with their creativity, innovation, and dedication to making the world a better place,” said Adanma Ude, NFTE New England Regional Director. “Their business ideas can absolutely change the world, and I am honored to be a witness to such talent and inspiration from our students.”

The NFTE New England Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge was presented by EY US and Santander, with associate support from the Eastern Bank, Citi Foundation, PayPal, and Shopify, and was hosted by Silicon Valley Bank.   

For media inquiries, please contact Angelika Seaman, 603-504-8554, or Denise Berkhalter, APR, 917-281-4362, at [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.