Local Youth Entrepreneurs Advance to National Pitch

ST. LOUIS, May 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Imagine participating in a Shark Tank-style pitch-off as a young person, winning funds to further your business—and advancing from a regional competition to a national arena. 

The winners of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) St. Louis Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Finals will do just that, taking their business ideas to New York in mid-October to vie for the title of National Champion and prizes from a pool of $18,000.

Participating students presented their original business ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. The first- and second-place winners, who will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, will continue to Nationals. The third-place winner will receive $500.

  • 1st Place: Devon and Deron Titsworth – Nature’s Market, Jennings Senior High School, St. Louis County 
    • Seventy percent of St. Louis’s population lives in a food desert. Nature’s Market’s mission is to deliver an exceptional shopping experience while being environmentally conscious and giving back to the communities it serves. The store will set up in food deserts, or urban areas where buying produce and affordable goods is challenging, to provide high-quality, low-priced goods.
  • 2nd Place: Josh Kreuger – MODRN Media, South Technical High School, St. Louis County
    • MODRN Media is a production and social media management service specializing in the action sports industry. It invests in smaller businesses and up-and-coming influencers.
  • 3rd Place: Micah Thompson – Universal Design, Every Child’s Hope, St. Louis County
    • Universal Design is an app that supports artists by allowing them to auction, sell or recover their art pieces directly from its mobile program.

“Young people are changing the world—there is no question about it. We are so proud of every student and their commitment to entrepreneurship,” said Dr. J.D. LaRock, CEO of NFTE. “Each young entrepreneur’s innovative idea signifies an opportunity to address key challenges facing communities around the globe. We activate the entrepreneurial mindset in young people, and this is critical to growing businesses, economies, and communities.”

The competition took place on May 24 at SLU Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship with a panel of esteemed judges, including:

  • Michael Bostic, NFTE Alumnus Class of 2020; St. Louis regional finalist with I Am Not a Statistic
  • Tamia Coleman-Hawkins, NFTE alumna and local entrepreneur with Mia’s Treats Delight
  • Eriko Pope, Founder of Katalyst STL
  • David Sachs, Founder of HH Capital, LLC
  • Gary VonderHaar, NFTE Midwest Advisory Board member and longtime regional and national volunteer from Mastercard

The NFTE St. Louis Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge was presented by EY and Mastercard, with associate support from the Citi Foundation, the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship and Mary Kay, Inc.

About NFTE

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a global nonprofit organization that provides high-quality entrepreneurship education to middle and high school students from under-resourced communities, as well as programs for college students and adults. NFTE reaches 50,000+ students annually in 25 states across the U.S. and offers programs in 18 additional countries. We have educated more than a million students through in-school, out-of-school, college, and summer camp programs, offered in person and online. To learn more about how we are promoting inclusive capitalism and building the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs, visit www.nfte.com.




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