NFTE Philadelphia Announces Student Finalists for Annual Business Plan Competition

Sun Life SVP Priscilla Brown to Present Keynote Speech to Students and Attendees

PHILADELPHIA--()--Five finalists from Greater Philadelphia-based public high and charter schools have been selected to compete in the final round of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Philadelphia Regional Business Plan Competition of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. On Tuesday, June 7, 2011 these finalists will present their businesses to a panel of judges and fight for the chance to win a scholarship to launch their business or further their education.

Finalists competing in the final round include:

  • Farwa Batool — a junior at Samuel Fels High School (Philadelphia, PA): Her business, Sheila’s Boutique, has both an ethnic and international flare: high-end Pakistani and Indian clothing purchased wholesale from Asia and sold retail in Philadelphia. Farwa has plans to eventually have her own line of clothing manufactured in India and sold in large cities throughout the United States.
  • Sasha Carrero a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School (Camden, NJ). Sasha is enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at WWHS, and her business is A Taste of Cake. Sasha plans to enroll in The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. Afterwards, she plans build up a chain of bakeries and restaurants.
  • Darryl Howell — a junior at World Communications Charter School (Philadelphia, PA). Darryl’s business is M.Y.C.A.R., a tutoring service for children from kindergarten through 8th Grade. Darryl has plans to attend college after graduation from high school.
  • Bianca Nieves is a senior at Nueva Esperanza Academy (Philadelphia, PA). Bianca runs a business based on her grandmother’s Hispanic spice recipe, called Grandma’s Secret. Bianca will be attending college this fall.
  • Viktor Vabishevich — a junior at George Washington High School (Philadelphia, PA). Viktor is running his own lawn care and landscaping business called Vito Lawns. Viktor plans to expand his business into a commercial landscaping business that will pay his college tuition.

All participants are currently enrolled in NFTE, which inspires young people from low-income communities to stay in school, recognize business opportunities, and plan for successful futures. The five finalists have already participated in two rounds of competition: the in-class business plan competitions held in late April / early May and the semi-final round held May 25.

The grand-prize winner will take home $2,500; the second place winner will receive $1,000; and the third-place winner will receive $500 to help launch or expand their business or further their education. Additionally, the first and second place winners will travel to New York City to compete against other regional winners in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge on October 6, 2011.

In addition to the business plan presentations, students attending the event will hear a keynote speech entitled, “The Power of Education with an Entrepreneurial Mindset” from Priscilla Brown, Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing and Strategy at Sun Life Financial U.S.

Judges for the final round include:

  • Saul Behar — University Science Center
  • Sandra M. Betner — Sandra Betner Public Relations & Marketing
  • Steve Birdsall — SAP
  • Reid Blynn — Newmark Knight Frank Smith Mack
  • Abdur Rahim Islam — Universal Companies
  • Jaine Lucas — Temple University
  • Mark McGuriman — CBIZ
  • Franne McNeal — HR Energy
  • Rohit C. Mehta— Iroko Pharmaceuticals, LLC
  • Carlos Moreira — PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Debbie O'Brien — Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Star Osborne — Tailored Transitions
  • Tom Petro— Fox Chase Bank

“This has been a great year for NFTE Philadelphia and our students,” says Sylvia Watts McKinney, executive director of NFTE Philadelphia. “The presentations that our students have given throughout the in-school and semi-final competitions have been tremendous, and I can’t wait to see what the final round holds. We have an outstanding group of judges from wide variety of industries and an incredible keynote speaker who will speak to our students about her experiences and share some real-world advice and guidance for the future.”

The final round of the business plan competition will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 from 3p.m. to 5p.m. at Ernst & Young’s Philadelphia offices.

About The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

Too many young people today drop out of school and struggle to break the cycle of poverty. Since 1987, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has been inspiring young people to pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses, and succeed in life. By providing entrepreneurship education programs relevant to the real world, NFTE empowers students to own their education in and out of the classroom and to find their own path to success. Hundreds of thousands of students have discovered opportunity all around them through entrepreneurship via thousands of certified educators worldwide. NFTE supports active programs in 21 states and 10 other countries through our network of program offices and licensed partners. Entrepreneurs are a powerful driver of economic growth and NFTE sows the seeds of innovation in students worldwide. To learn how you can help students realize their potential, visit

About NFTE Philadelphia

NFTE Philadelphia chapter was established in 2007 through initial donor support and seed funding from Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE) and Internet Capital Group (Nasdaq: ICGE). Specifically in the Greater Philadelphia area, NFTE has reached more than 1,500 students from more than 20 different schools. For more information about NFTE Philadelphia, please visit or follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at


Gregory FCA
Theresa Murray, 610-228-2126

Release Summary

NFTE Philadelphia to host final regional business plan competition on Tuesday, June 7th at E&Y's offices in Philadelphia; Priscilla Brown to give keynote speech


Gregory FCA
Theresa Murray, 610-228-2126