SOURCE: National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship

February 26, 2007 08:30 ET

Young Biz Builders to Participate in National Entrepreneurship Expo in NYC

Business Teams Highlight Racial, Ethnic and Geographic Diversity

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 26, 2007 -- Like any ambitious entrepreneur, George Ortega created a detailed marketing plan, developed a product prototype, submitted it for patent protection, and planned his business pitch.

After proposing his idea to a group of hardened financial executives, Ortega, the 16-year-old founder of Germies, a company with an innovative product that helps children brush their teeth for the dentist-recommended two minutes, hopes to win the Goldman Sachs Foundation's Fourth Annual Youth Entrepreneurship Expo, which will be conducted on March 1 from 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., at Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York City.

Ortega, a student at New York City's Trinity High School, is one of a select group of 27 select, talented young entrepreneurs from around the country who will compete in the Exposition.

The Expo concludes months of diligent and creative work by hundreds of students in entrepreneurship competitions all of the U.S. The students (ages 15-17) represent the "best of the best" from organizations serving high potential as well as low income and underrepresented youth, including the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the Center for Talented Youth at The Johns Hopkins University, Prep for Prep, and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity.

In addition to Ortega, other teen participants include:

--  Uriah Johnson, Zalika May and Michael Martinez, a trio of 15-year-old
    students from New York City, who were inspired to start their party
    invitations and specialty gift packaging company Letters 'N Things, from a
    reality TV show on Sweet 16 birthday celebrations.
    
--  Danny Lopez, John Howard, Tiffany Dinkins and Delson Bernabel,
    students from Maryland, Massachusetts, California and Florida, who plan to
    start a new energy drink company called Psyched Up. The teens refined their
    organic energy drink after talking with the CEO of Red Bull, who they
    called while attending a Biz Camp together.
    
--  William Zhao, a 16-year-old Queens, NY, student who started Tiger
    Savings, a company that offers discount savings cards to high school
    students that are redeemable at participating grocery stores in Manhattan.
    
--  Melinda Patino, Samantha Dixon, Elena Sanchez and Alejandra Vega, 16-
    year-old students from Texas, Maryland, and California, who started
    Planting Prosperity, Inc., a company that works with inner city
    neighborhoods to acquire and plant trees and shrubbery.
    
The students, nearly all from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, recently participated in an intensive entrepreneurship education program where they learned new words like "revenue" and "prototype," and new concepts like "return-on-investment" and "market share," met venture capitalists and other business executives, and rehearsed their communication and presentation skills.

Students will showcase their business ventures and will be evaluated on different competition criteria including best marketing and best communication skills. Top competitors will be awarded cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000.

The Expo comes at a time when interest among young people in owning and operating a small business is growing. A series of Gallup Polls found that nearly seven out of 10 youth were interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, a study conducted on behalf of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, provides compelling evidence of the positive benefits youth entrepreneurship programs can have on school engagement and future orientation.

"These findings reinforce our conviction that youth entrepreneurship programs are particularly effective at keeping students from underrepresented backgrounds on track academically and can be a significant force in driving them toward high achievement and leadership," said Stephanie Bell-Rose, President of The Goldman Sachs Foundation.

"Many neighborhoods are filled with bright children who just need help finding their talents," said Barbara Reuter, Executive Director of NFTE's Metro New York office, an organizer of the Expo. "By exposing these students to entrepreneurship, we expand their capacity, unleash their creativity, and encourage their individual growth."

About The Goldman Sachs Foundation

The Goldman Sachs Foundation (www.gs.com/foundation) is a global philanthropic organization funded by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The Foundation's mission is to promote excellence and innovation in education and to improve the academic performance and lifelong productivity of young people worldwide. It achieves this mission through a combination of strategic partnerships, grants, loans, private sector investments, and the deployment of professional talent from Goldman Sachs. Funded in 1999, the Foundation has awarded grants of $94 million since its inception, providing opportunities for young people in more than 20 countries.

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (www.nfte.com) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, whose mission is to teach entrepreneurship to young people from low-income communities to enhance their economic productivity by improving their business, academic, and life skills. Since 1987, NFTE has reached over 150,000 youth and trained more than 4,200 Certified Entrepreneurship Teachers. Currently NFTE has active programs in 25 states and 13 countries.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Tom Phillips
    Communication Partners
    212-935-4655