Md. Students Compete For A Chance To Pitch Original Business Ideas

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Homegrown talent. A two-week class designed to encourage and educate young business owners ends with a competition to pitch their ideas.

As Gigi Barnett reports, the winner heads to the national competition in California.

“I have connections with two barber shops in the city,” said high school student Adero Mandala.

Mandala has a business plan that could net him thousands of dollars and customers.

“My company is Cuts on the Go and we’re a mobile barber shop,” he said.

Like all great ideas, it came from necessity.

“I didn’t always have time to get a haircut so it was a good idea and I think we can go pretty far with this,” he said.

So he and his business partner pitched Cuts on the Go to a group of judges in the National Foundation For Teaching Entrepreneurship Program—also called NFTE.

His team is just one of several high schoolers vying for a chance to advance to the national competition in San Francisco.

“Nothing’s easy and it takes a lot of work to get what you want,” said NFTE student Lara Asseo.

That’s what Asseo learned while creating her food delivery business in a two-week course linked to the program. Her idea is already popular in Argentina.

“Over there, they delivered ice cream so it actually started out with an ice cream delivery. And then me and my brother were like, `Why don’t we deliver all types of food?’ Because we like food and we’re too lazy to go out and get it,” she said.

“It is so important to nurture young people to be entrepreneurs or to be like me, to be a serial entrepreneur,” said Linyette Richardson-Hall.

She’s one of the judges and says this group is where Baltimore will find its next business stars.

“We’ve got companies coming here so it’s important to see that we have a pool of talent to choose from and that’s where NFTE starts. That’s the purpose,” she said.

The winner will also get a $1,000 prize to put toward their fledgling business plan.

About 25 high schoolers took the two week course and competed in the business competition.

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