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Good Jeans & Fortune: Local Teens To Pitch Business Ideas In National Competition

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A high school business class leads to a chance to make some big bucks for two Baltimore teens. Judges selected the teens to attend a national competition to pitch their ideas in New York.

Gigi Barnett reports they beat out scores of students and dozens of ideas.

Armed with a pair of scissors and a bottle of bleach, 16-year-old Zoey White can make an old pair of jeans brand new.

She up-cycles them for friends and family. But recently, they’re so popular White plans to launch a business in Baltimore.

“I’m going to try to start my own boutique in the Reisterstown Road area,” White said.

She’s so sure about the idea that she’s headed to New York next month to pitch it.

But she won’t go alone.

Asia McCallum, 17, is going too. She created jumbo fortune cookies she markets to museums.

“Impossible should actually be I’m possible,” McCallum said.

Both girls are in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneur Program, also called NFTE, at Forest Park High School.

This year they each won a spot in the national competition. The top spot gets $25,000.

“This is not just a hobby for me or a class project. By the time I graduate, I need this and I want this to be a real, physical business. So that would be investment money for me,” McCallum said.

Although the odds are stacked against new businesses, the teens’ principal says they have one thing going for them.

“The resiliency of our students, the resiliency of today’s teenagers, they just go for it,” said Monica Dailey, Forest Park principal.

The teens spent months developing their projects and creating thick business plans. Last year’s NFTE winner was from California. Each girl says it’s time for Maryland to win.

“A lot of teenagers are afraid to do what they really want to do because they think they’re going to fail. Some don’t believe in themselves, but some do,” White said.

And these young businesswomen certainly do.

The competition is Oct. 3. White and McCallum are two of about 40 students in the national competition.

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