Last night, I attended the NFTE Holiday Party and Youth Showcase (National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship).   Wow, once I again I was blown away with the great work and business savvy of these young entrepreneurs (most of them are in high school but there was even one 7th grader pitching his wares).

AOL has been a long-time supporter of NFTE in greater Washington, DC region.   Per the site, their mission is “to provide entrepreneurship education programs to young people from low-income communities.  Our vision is that every young person will find a pathway to prosperity.”

I’ve been fortunate to serve as a case competition finals judge the past three years.   NFTE normally has 12 – 15 business executives serving as judges.  Some of the top entrepreneurs in the region, such as Ted Leonsis and Raul Fernandez, have served as finals judges.    The terrific Julie Kantor has been the driving force of NFTE in the DC region for the past decade.  Just like Susie Kay, Tynesia Boyea-Robinson, Rosetta Lai, Marcy Mistrett — other brilliant Executive Directors of non-profits in this region, Julie has boundless energy, drive and dedication to the youth.

To add a neat twist to this past year’s competition, a documentary is being filmed about the year-long NFTE competition by Mary Mazzio and 50 Eggs films (slated to come out next Spring). This year’s DC region winner, a junior from Suitland HS in PG County, designs outfits for youth cheerleader and dance teams.

I’m good friends with a number of Washington Redskins cheerleaders (the First Ladies of the NFL)!   I asked the contest winner at the competition if she would like to meet the squad.   Of course, she said yes, so we set up a film shoot at FedEx Field this past September.   Thanks to the graciousness of Stephanie Jojokians and Melanie Treanor, we spent a couple of hours shooting the contest winner pitching her outfits to a few members of the squad as well as having her observe the team practice.  Hopefully, this cool scene will make into the documentary!

If you’re interested in getting involved with this outstanding and important organization, please go to