Vernave Medrano of Fresno’s Roosevelt High School was chosen as the grand prize winner of the fourth annual NFTE Central Valley Regional Business Plan Competition for Vernave’s Pottery.
NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) is a national program administered locally through the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at California State University, Fresno.
Vernave will compete for $10,000 in October at the national competition in New York. On Thursday, May 20, he received $500 for winning the regional competition among a field of five Fresno high school students. He also will receive an internship in his field of his business, custom pottery.
Second place and $300 were awarded to Brenda Garcia of Bullard High for her Tres Petite Apparel, a clothing company for petite women. Ashlee Rocha of Fresno High placed third and was awarded $200 for her a plus-size clothing company for children and teens called Heart Me.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin welcomed competitors and the audience. They also heard from keynoter Terrance Frazier, founder of Frazier Realty and Investments; Fresno County Schools Supt. Larry Powell; and Darius Assemi, owner of Granville Homes.
Judges were Fresno City Councilmember Blong Xiong; Marianne Dunklin, a Fresno City College business instructor; Sandy Cha of Wells Fargo Bank; and Kirk Nagamine, CEO of the Central Valley Business Incubator.
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship provides entrepreneurship education programs to young people from low-income communities to enhance their economic productivity by improving their business, academic and life skills.The Lyles Center coordinates with participating schools on teacher training, field trips, guest speaker appearances and networking events.