13th Annual National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge


Early yesterday morning 46 NFTE entrepreneurs from across the country began pitching to judging panels at our 13th annual National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The three national finalists who emerged from the all-day competition went head to head last night, pitching in front of a cheering crowd at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

18-year-old Kelsey Johnson of Los Angeles, founder of Kinky Kaps, took first place in the 2018 National Challenge and was awarded the top prize of $15,000. Way to go, Kelsey!

For the first time this year, an additional competition track was held for students from NFTE’s new advanced Entrepreneurship 2 (E2) classes. Top E2 students came to New York to compete for a total prize pool of $15,000. Judges awarded $10,000 to E2 winner Simone Hufana, founder of Color HerStory. Elizabeth Berenguer, founder of Pawfect Pets’ Festival, was named a runner up and awarded $2,500. The five founders of DesignAhhJeans – Yetunde Arongudade, Antonio Finley, TyVon Jones, Diate Jackson, and Hasan Lipscomb – were named runners up and received an award of $2,500 to share.

Bravo to all who qualified for the national finals this year. You’re an extraordinarily talented group of competitors. Every one of you models the entrepreneurial mindset and we wish you continued success!

We’d also like to express our deep gratitude to Citi Foundation and EY, presenting sponsors of the 2018 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Without dedicated supporters like these we would not be able to produce events like the national finals.

NFTE activates the entrepreneurial mindset and builds startup skills in youth from under-resourced communities to ensure their success and to create a more vibrant society.  See https://volunteer.nfte.com/aboutus.