‘Geeks’ raises money for young entrepreneurs


Entrepreneurs on the catwalk during Geeks 2 Chic, an event produced by Microsoft in partnership with the Mens Store at Bloomingdale's. (Evy Mages/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
October 28, 2012

They are geeks by day and models by night — or at least for one night.

Members of the local tech community recently strolled down a Bloomingdale’s runway to raise money for youth entrepreneurship education. The third floor of the department store in Chevy Chase was filled with 250 dolled-up young professionals who surrounded the stage to snap pictures of their catwalking co-workers from Twitter or Facebook.

The third annual Geek 2 Chic event for the Washington region was created from a national partnership between Microsoft, Bloomingdale’s and the local chapter of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Through ticket sales, the event raised nearly $11,000, which the nonprofit said will be used to support programs in the District, Prince George’s County and Northern Virginia schools.

“Microsoft is a brand that our kids immediately recognize, so they get excited about it … because they’re using the products all the time,” said Tricia Granata, executive director of NFTE. “And who doesn’t love fashion?”

NFTE deploys business professionals into classrooms to help students start their own businesses. In attendance was 23-year-old Chante Goodwin, who started an IT company through NFTE that now generates $150,000 in annual revenue.

“In high school, I knew I always liked computers, but I never would’ve thought I could turn out like this,” Goodwin said.

Other corporate supporters of NFTE have included Ernst & Young, E-Trade Financial, Bank of America, Sam’s Club and MasterCard Worldwide.

Vanessa Small covers philanthropy and nonprofits for Capital Business. She also spotlights newly appointed executives in the New at the Top column, which chronicles their journeys to the top. Small was raised in Orange County, Ca. and graduated from Howard University.
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