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Mount Saint Mary students gain self-perspective at global business competition

Mount Saint Mary Academy

Students from Mount Saint Mary Academy in Tonawanda brought their business acumen to a global competition of young entrepreneurs this weekend. Despite not winning the competition, what they’ll come home with is more than they may have expected.

The young women behind the Sweet Fortunes cupcake company have travelled a long way, and not just to this year’s competition of Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship in Manilla, Philippines.

“We’ve come a long way since starting three years ago when we came in last,” said Sweet Fortunes Chief Executive Officer Sara Ngo.

The team went from last place at the U.S. national competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the company’s relative infancy, to becoming two-time national champions, and last year’s 3rd place team in the world. This year, they placed among the top 15 out of 20 countries from around the globe.

Ngo said she’s proud of the achievement, but she and Sweet Fortunes Chief Financial Officer Maddie King also got more than they expected at this year’s competition – they were humbled by the experience.

The top-placing team was from Nigeria, presenting a company for a generator that uses urine to create electricity – a business model which was shocking to Ngo and King.

“We totally support them in winning and it was just amazing that they created this idea, but it made us realize that they created this product because they don’t really have anything else,” said Ngo. “They’re using what they have.”

That recognition offered a sense of self-understanding to the girls.

“It just kind of makes you realize how much you have,” explained King. “I definitely realized how grateful I am for everything that we do have and that we take for granted most of the time. A lot of people don’t have what we have or the opportunities that we have.”

The Sweet Fortunes team will return back to the states on Tuesday and home later in the week knowing just how fortunate they truly are.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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