Students win $2,500 in Shark Tank-style pitch competition and advance to national finals

San Francisco, CA (May 25, 2024) (GLOBE NEWSIRE)– Global entrepreneurship education nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has named two local student businesses as the winners of its annual West (Northern California) 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 10 to compete for the National Champion title and cash prizes.

Competitors pitched their original business concepts to a panel of esteemed judges, including Kate Booth, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Americas at SAP; Samantha Brill, Private Wealth Advisor at Goldman Sachs; Tommy Goodwin, VP of Lyte Creative; Leo Mattiazzi, Partner, EVP at CI&T; and James B. Nelson, Senior Manager at Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) who selected a first-place winner to receive $1,500 and a second-place winner to receive $1,000.

NFTE West – Northern California Entrepreneurship Challenge 2024 San Francisco

  • 1st Place: Dorothy Ho and Kimberlee Tran from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco with their business idea NutriShell, which produces organic, eggshell-based fertilizers packaged with a cute aesthetic.
  • 2nd Place: Ayaan Hassan from Silver Creek High School in San Jose, California with his business idea AidlyAI, an app that utilizes AI to connect patients to urgent care centers.

“The NFTE West Northern California Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge has once again shown our young people’s remarkable talent and potential,” said Tim Blaylock, NFTE West Executive Director. “Seeing their creative ideas, enthusiastic presentations, and unwavering determination has been inspiring. This event was made possible by the hard work of our NFTE West teachers, volunteer coaches, and judges, as well as the leadership of the NFTE West team. Their dedication to empowering these young entrepreneurs is truly admirable!”

The NFTE West (Northern California) Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge was presented by EY US with signature support from Shopify and associate support from the Citi Foundation, PayPal, and Santander.   

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.

NFTE West – Northern California Entrepreneurship Challenge 2024 San Francisco