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Changing Colors for Social Change?

By Sithu Thein Swe

My how times have changed.  Back when Jenni and Way-Ting started Blue Garnet, the field supporting social entrepreneurs was nascent, let alone supporting for young entrepreneurs. Recently, I had a chance to check out our friends at NFTE LA (The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) as they held their 8th Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The event was an opportunity for three finalists — all high school students here in LA — to pitch their business ideas, analyses, and ask, to a panel of judges. Up for grabs were cash prizes to be used for either their business or education, and a chance to compete in the national competition against other winners from across the country.

It was an exciting opportunity to see these outstanding students showcase a range of skills and talents during their pitches: creativity to solve everyday problems through business solutions, while still including a social benefit component; professionalism and presentation skills to hold the floor in front of a full auditorium, in a high-pressure situation; and a blend of quick thinking and preparation to respond to tough, critical questions from judges.

The students’ performances were a testament to the NFTE program, the support and commitment of NFTE teachers, and the dedication and hard-work of the finalists. Congratulations to Joshua and Eddy from “Time’s Up” for winning first place with their color-changing toothpaste aimed to help children brush the recommended amount of time (it changes colors after 2-minutes have passed!).

You may not know this, but our firm name, Blue Garnet, was inspired by a color-changing garnet (for more on that, click here).  This NFTE LA event really kept me inspired! Check out photos from the great event. And if you’re up in Northern California, have a look out for NFTE’s National Challenge in Silicon Valley this October!

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