17-year-old Raneem Al Suwaidani from the United States wins NFTE’s World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge

The founder of Lilypad competed against students from 11 countries to secure a $5,000 grand prize

New York, NY, Nov. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Global nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) announces Raneem Al Suwaidani as the winner of NFTE’s second annual World Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Held annually, the competition showcases the incredible talent and creativity of young entrepreneurs from around the globe. 

Presented by Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) and Zuora, with support from PayPal and Santander, the Nov. 16 event brought together 23 students from 11 different countries to compete in a high-stakes business plan pitch competition at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. NFTE’s 2022 National Champion Josh Kreuger of St. Louis and Al Suwaidani, the 2023 National Champion from Providence, Rhode Island, represented the United States in the competition. 

Al Suwaidani impressed the judges with her innovative business idea, Lilypad, a food truck rental opportunity for BIPOC entrepreneurs to test their culinary concepts in a low-cost, risk-free environment. As the winner, Al Suwaidani will receive $5,000 to further develop her entrepreneurial venture. Three runners-up were also recognized for outstanding business ideas. Sindhuja Venkataraman from ENpower in India was awarded $1,000 for her business concept, MyRoots. Additionally, Tadeo Noguera and Sebastián Rodriguez representing Fundación Educación para el Futuro (FEF) in Argentina received $500 for their business idea, GreenBug. Misaki Nakamura of Career Link in Japan received $500 for her business concept, Aladdin. 

“NFTE’s students are not only aware of the world’s problems but are eager to use their entrepreneurial minds to solve them,” said NFTE CEO Dr. J.D. LaRock. “As CEO of NFTE, I witness their passion for innovative ideas that make the world more equitable and sustainable and goods and services more accessible and affordable. Congratulations to Raneem and each of our global competitors for demonstrating the impact entrepreneurship education has on youth success and communities worldwide.” 

The winners were selected by a distinguished panel of VIP judges, including Julia Beardwood, Founder & CEO of Beardwood&Co.; Jennifer Dorre, Sr. VP of Business Transformation at the KnitWell Group; Andee Gerhardt, Senior Director of Learning and Talent Enablement at Zuora; Victor Salama, Executive Director at the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation; and Helene Tuling, Foreign Service Officer, Branch Chief at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Visitors’ New York Branch. 

During the event, NFTE announced that it has declared Nov. 17, 2023, as Youth Entrepreneurship Day to recognize the importance of fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among young people. NFTE sought and received a Presidential letter from the Biden Administration, as well as proclamations recognizing the day in Dallas; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Massachusetts; Texas; and Washington, D.C. 

"NFTE’s programs equip students from under-resourced communities and diverse backgrounds with skills to own their futures," noted the proclamation. "Entrepreneurship education is proven to help close the achievement gap and fuel a future of a new generation of diverse entrepreneurs and business leaders." 

The annual world challenge included a Day of Learning that brought together the next generation of diverse world leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers who hope to inspire a greater future. This year’s challenge also followed NFTE’s Nov. 15 UN Global Goals Conversation featuring a thought leader discussion on the topic “Healthy & Resilient: Adapting to a Changing World.”   


For media inquiries, please contact Angelika Seaman, 603-504-8554, or Denise Berkhalter, APR, 917-281-4362, at mediainquiries@nfte.com 


About NFTE 

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) ignites the entrepreneurial mindset with unique learning experiences that empower students to own their futures. A global nonprofit founded in 1987, NFTE provides high-quality entrepreneurship education to middle school, high school and postsecondary students. NFTE brings the power of entrepreneurship to students, regardless of family income, community resources, special needs, gender identity, race, or ethnicity. NFTE has educated more than a million students, delivering our programs in school, out of school, in-person, online, or through hybrid models. Visit nfte.com to learn more.  


About EY 

EY exists to build a better working world, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets.  

Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.  

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com. 


About Zuora, Inc. 
Zuora provides a leading monetization suite for modern businesses across all industries, enabling companies to unlock and grow customer-centric business models. Zuora serves as an intelligent hub that monetizes and orchestrates the complete quote to cash and revenue recognition process at scale. Through its industry leading technology and expertise, Zuora helps more than 1,000 companies around the world, including BMC Software, Box, Caterpillar, General Motors, Penske Media Corporation, Schneider Electric, Siemens and Zoom nurture and monetize direct, digital customer relationships. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Zuora operates offices around the world in the Americas, EMEA and APAC. To learn more about the Zuora monetization suite, please visit www.zuora.com.


U.S. student Raneem Al Suwaidani wins world challenge

Contact Data