Newark Public Schools Announces Entrepreneurial Success in National Business Plan Competition

NEWARK, N.J., Nov. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — This year marked a significant milestone for South 17th Street School and West Side High School students as they competed in the Annual Youth Business Plan Challenge, an entrepreneurial competition sponsored by Young Entrepreneurz Solutions (YES) in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.


(PRNewsfoto/Newark Board of Education)

Founded by former Rutgers University award-winning adjunct professor and veteran entrepreneur Ernest Ruffin, Jr, YES’s mission is to teach youth in grades 6 -12 from across the nation, the Virgin Islands, and Europe business and economic development to help them start or grow their businesses.

The organization specializes in teaching middle and high school-aged youth the foundation of entrepreneurship and economic development. Ruffin intends to give young people in underserved communities the tools to succeed in business and create economic opportunities for themselves and their communities.

Superintendent Leόn was thrilled, “I experienced immeasurable pride as I witnessed the brilliance of the students from South 17th Street and West Side High Schools. It was great to see how they incorporated everything they are learning into a stellar performance at the YES National Business Plan Challenge. A true example of where Passion Meets Progress,” he added.

South 17th Street School 8th graders, Luince Rahman, Maurice Sharpe, and Kaneisha Marable, made a notable debut, standing out as one of only two groups featuring students in middle school grades. Their involvement in the competition not only showcased exceptional talent but also served as an inspiring introduction to the world of entrepreneurship. The excitement and motivation generated by their participation were palpable, offering them a glimpse of what’s possible as they observed their West Side High upper-classmen progress through the competition. The event proved to be a valuable experience, fostering a sense of aspiration and achievement among the budding entrepreneurs of Newark.

Competing against students from California, Michigan, New York, St. Thomas, and Wisconsin, West Side High School seniors, Hapsatou Fatty, Alyssa Lopez, and Shamar Richards took home the coveted 1st Place prize. Their presentation focused on Rider Heat Hot Sauce. The students worked on their business pitches in their entrepreneurial class, which played a pivotal role in their success, along with the Newark Beth Israel Farmers Market partnership for marketing and sales. They were evaluated on their business plan, creativity, presentation, financials, taste, and overall presentation delivery.

Principal Cook expressed immense pride, stating, “There is no better feeling than seeing your students competing with others from all over the world and winning!”

The success of West Side High School students was attributed to their well-structured presentation, showcasing media coverage, and real community partnerships with local businesses. Their ability to enhance and scale the “Hot Sauce” business demonstrated the practical application of entrepreneurial skills learned in the classroom.

“We continue to provide our students the opportunity to perform on the world stage, and they keep impressing us on their full potential,” said President Council.

About Newark Public Schools
The Newark Public Schools is the largest school district in New Jersey and dates back to 1676. The District currently enrolls over 39,000 students in 63 schools. After more than two decades of state operation and upon return to local control in 2018, the District has opened 9 new schools under Superintendent León’s leadership with an additional portfolio of new options to be announced in the coming months and years. The Newark Board of Education serves as a beacon of educational excellence, dedicated to nurturing the potential of every student. With a commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and fostering a love for learning, the District continues to shape future generations and make a positive impact within the community.

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SOURCE Newark Board of Education