2021 NFTE Regionals winner Nehtia Hazelwood
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Once again, teens from the Science Center’s Youth Exploring Science (YES) Program are headed to compete in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, described as NFTE’s “most high-stakes business plan and pitch competition of the year,” brings together the best young entrepreneurs from across the globe to compete before a panel of VIP judges for the grand prize, as well as cash awards to aid in growing their businesses or furthering their educational goals.

This year, after advancing through elimination rounds at the local and regional levels, YES Teen Nehtia Hazelwood, founder and CEO of Nervy Beauty, won 1st place in the region with her pitch. Nervy Beauty is a fashion and accessories business that helps boost the self-confidence of girls and women by celebrating unique names and cultures. In addition to winning 1st place, Ms. Hazelwood also received the Regional Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Meanwhile, YES Teens Kira Miller and De’Mea White won 2nd place in the region as founders and co-CEOs of Ms. Curvyy, a business that seeks to motive, empower, and inspire teen girls to embrace their beauty through apparel, cosmetics, accessories, and more.

Entrepreneurship has long been one of the areas where teens in the YES Program can tap into the rich world of STEAM and science learning experiences to develop the skills that lead to future success.


For the YES Program, participating in the NFTE competition is a natural fit.

Entrepreneurship has long been one of the areas where teens in the YES Program can tap into the rich world of STEAM and science learning experiences to develop the skills that lead to future success.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship is a global nonprofit organization providing entrepreneurship education to students at the middle and high school levels from traditionally underserved communities. (NFTE also offers programs for college students and adults.) Aiming to promote inclusive capitalism and empower the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs, NFTE goes beyond teaching practical business skills to spark a passion for learning and help young people get ready to pursue college and careers.

Careers in the 21st century workforce are increasingly reliant upon STEAM skills, and Youth Exploring Science’s entrepreneurship component allows teens to take part in project-based learning models to create products and businesses, as well as educate others about entrepreneurship.

Using STEAM skills like experimentation, problem solving, communication, and collaboration, YES Teens create business plans, pitches, and products, and then utilize tools like graphic design and photo editing software and technology like laser cutters, heat presses, and more to bring products to life. Teens prepare for and then compete in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship annual competition.

Nehtia, Kira, and De’Mea join a list of previous NFTE finalists and winners from the Science Center’s YES Program. Past participants have showcased innovative and forward-thinking businesses including a nonprofit organization helping pair high school mentors with elementary students to increase literacy and academic achievement; a program to provide access to local, fresh produce for families living in food deserts; and more.

While this year’s event will be held virtually, in October Nehtia, Kira, and De’Mea will continue on to NFTE’s 16th annual National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge for the final round of competition.


Join us in celebrating this fantastic achievement and wishing these amazing teens the best of luck in this year’s competition.


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