College of Charleston Freshman Among Nation’s Top Three Youth Entrepreneurs

Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina history was made in Silicon Valley last week. Eighteen year old Jesse Horine from Fort Mill, SC placed runner-up in the 2014 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, presented by the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. This marks the first time a YEScarolina student has made it as one of the top three finalists.

Horine, currently a freshman at College of Charleston, finished ahead of 39 other student entrepreneurs from across the country. Horine was a senior at Fort Mill High School when completing his business plan for an entrepreneurship class based on curriculum developed by the NFTE. His venture, SouthernFly, is a lifestyle brand that sells convenience and a complete experience for outdoor enthusiasts and fly fishermen. He won a prize package worth $5,000 at the National level. Horine originally placed 2nd in the YEScarolina State Business Plan Competition in June winning $2,000 seed money plus the all expenses paid trip to the Silicon Valley Nationals.

yescarolina-jesse-horine

Jesse Horine with Yescarolina program assistant, Molly Crete & Vice President, Harriett Lee

 

“The whole YEScarolina and NFTE experience gave me confidence in myself to take the leap of faith as an entrepreneur. I learned the aspects of a business that a classroom could not teach me and now I believe in myself to perform better as a businessman,” stated Jesse Horine.

After the day-long competition, both YEScarolina students Jesse Horine and Dekeiya Cohen advanced to the semi-final round. Cohen, of West Ashley High School, presented her business; a basketball catching training device named The Catching Prodigy. Only 14 of the 41 students advanced to the semi-final round and the competition was fierce, however one YEScarolina student advanced to the finals. At the end of the day, first place went to Lily DeBell from Baltimore, MD and the other runner-up honor went to Ambar Ramero of Bridgeport, CT.

All of the finalists were business plan competition winners from their respective regions and were required to develop and present original business plans as part of their entrepreneurial studies at school, based on NFTE’s award winning, experiential curriculum.

Judging the final round of the top three teams were Amy Buckner Chowdhry, Founder & CEO, AnswerLab, Frank Chen, Partner, Andreesen Horowitz, Ron Garrow, Chief Human Resources Officer, MasterCard, Kyle Wong Co-Founder & CEO, Pixlee and NFTE alumnus, and Jason Young Co-Founder & CEO of MindBlown Labs.

“Competing at the NFTE National Business Plan Competition is a once in a lifetime experience. Our team is beyond proud of the hard work and dedication our students put in. It is so exciting to see future business leaders develop right before your eyes all because of entrepreneurship education at the high school level,” said Vice President of YEScarolina, Harriett Lee.

YEScarolina is the only organization in the state of South Carolina dedicated to teaching youth the principles of entrepreneurship and free enterprise. As a program partner of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, YEScarolina has helped thousands of young people from communities statewide build business skills and unlock their entrepreneurial creativity. To date, YEScarolina has trained and certified over 700 South Carolina teachers, free of charge, on the subject of entrepreneurship. These educators in turn have touched and inspired thousands of young South Carolinians with a thirst for entrepreneurship.

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