Leaders are SAYING YES! to Entrepreneurship in America’s Schools

Posted: January 14, 2009 in Youth Education in Entrepreneurship
Tags: , , , , , ,

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Inc.

Office of Government Affairs

The Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group (YES Group)

1990 M Street, Suite 740 NW Washington DC 20036

T: 202-215-6383 or 212-232-3333 ext 331 × F: 212-232-2244

Email: julie.kantor@nfte.com × http://www.aspeninstitute.org/yesg


What Students and Teachers are Saying… (as of 1/09)

My Dream is Not to Die in Poverty, But to Have Poverty Die in Me.

– Michelle Araujo,President

A’La Mode Fashions., NFTE alumna

I realized that I had goals and plans for my future. I realized that I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything get in the way of my dreams. Entrepreneurship is no longer a hidden talent of mine, but is my reality. Now I’m on my way to studying business in college.

– Braulio Salas, CEO & President

Virtual Art Gallery, Inc.

I a sixteen year-old junior at the Marymount School in New York. I used to associate entrepreneurship with “Wall Street Types,” those men and women in great suits who seemed to be the brains behind the world’s newest and most innovative products and services. Through my entrepreneurship class in Summer 2007 sponsored by Goldman Sachs at Prep for Prep, I began to grasp a true understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur. I was right, initially, to believe that entrepreneurs were the harbingers of skillful innovation. They are not, however, concentrated only in the Wall Street area but instead are from all over, and come from various walks of life. The local delis and supermarkets, that chic boutique that has all this season’s “must-haves”, and even the hot-dog cart on the street are all entrepreneurial enterprises. Sooner or later, I knew I was going to join that group.

-Gabrielle Green, President


What Government Leaders are Saying…

Entrepreneurship training provides at-risk youth an opportunity to learn how to function in the marketplace and strengthen their community’s economy. High quality entrepreneurship training can help ensure a better quality of life for the individual entrepreneur and their community as a whole.

– House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller

In a democratic, capitalist society, personal investing and savings, homeownership, and small-business ownership are key ways to build personal prosperity. Youth today often do not understand how to take their entrepreneurial dreams and make them come true. Entrepreneurship education offers a unique way to help them learn and practice the essential financial and business concepts and skills that, when coupled with their own passion and local market knowledge, can help make them come true.

– Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan

The most important economic stimulus package our nation can develop is combining quality education with an entrepreneurial attitude to meet the crisis of over one million high school dropouts a year. We need to teach our youth to be ‘owners’ of their lives. I Say YES! to youth entrepreneurship education in our nation’s schools.

– Governor Bob Wise, President

Alliance for Excellent Education

Former Governor, West Virginia

What Educational Leaders are Saying…

Preparing today’s students for success and eventual leadership in the new global marketplace is the most important responsibility in education today. Providing them [youth] with guidance and opportunity at the most critical junctures along their educational journey can have a profound impact. Entrepreneurship education is an important tool in achieving these goals.

– Stephanie Bell- Rose founding president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation & Thomas W. Payzant, Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Former Superintendent of Boston Public Schools

The economic engine of America is fueled by the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of its people.  The most important thing we can do for our future is to nurture these values in our young people by providing educational opportunities for them to explore and learn about entrepreneurship.  All of us in education should do what we can to inspire our students, build upon their interests and native curiosity, and engage them in meaningful learning.

– George R. Boggs, President and CEO,

American Association of Community Colleges

NEA applauds Youth Entrepreneurship Education in America’s Schools. Today’s students will work in multiple jobs over the course of their careers, possibly working for themselves, and this requires entrepreneurial skills. Not only must students have subject matter knowledge, but also they need 21st century skills to problem-solve, work with diverse people, and develop sophistication about areas affecting their personal well-being, such as how to make good choices about their financial security. This can be a very exciting future for students — but they must be empowered with knowledge and skills.

– John I. Wilson, Executive Director

National Education Association

To thrive in our new world, our students need strong analytical, communication and interpersonal skills. They must be more entrepreneurial, willing to take risks and able to tolerate greater ambiguity. These challenges and opportunities compel us to reexamine our current education practices and banish any assumptions that what was good enough for us is good enough for our kids. This implies doing what works and transforming what doesn’t.

– Gene R. Carter, Executive Director

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

I believe that American youth are among the world’s most imaginative populations, constantly inventing and reinventing themselves and the country’s youth culture, and forming businesses… Entrepreneurship education requires three things: well-targeted programs in places of greatest need, expansion, and a steady focus on providing high-quality training. As a nation of innovators, we can do it all.

– Andrew Hahn, Professor at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Brandeis University

Education and entrepreneurship are two pillars of the America’s free enterprise system.  All members of society benefit from a strong economy.  A way to bolster the markets of the future is to plant the seed of entrepreneurship in the minds of our country’s youth today.  Encourage creativity, innovation, risk-taking and, most of all, encourage our youth to pursue their dreams.

– Michael T. Victor, President
Lake Erie College

What Business Leaders are Saying…

Without role models and examples of successful business people in their own communities, our youth often see the American Dream as either ‘hype’ or a pipe dream. Our young people need to know they have viable place in our market economy. NFTE [YEE] is part of the solution to bring entrepreneurship to the young people who need it most. It’s a leveraged organization that will have a great ROI for our city and nation.

– Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman, AOL, LLC; Owner Washington Capitals

Every child needs hope and opportunity
Hope and opportunity are driven by education
If a child does not have opportunity in his or her education
Hope and opportunity dissolves
You get unrest and despair and violence (double ck) ,,,
If you train more entrepreneurs  they create more jobs and opportunities
We need to multiply that
The better job we do
The safer the world will be
Barrett, Chairman Intel as stated to Julie at Afghanistan Embassy 9/08 over cocktails—Julie wants confirmation on quote from his office that she wrote on napkin J)

What Philanthropic Leaders are Saying…

Entrepreneurship education inspires young people to do all the right things—understand the relevance of a good education, gain financial literacy, plan for financial independence, explore their talents, and most importantly, stay in school and develop pathways to college.  All students, no matter where they are raised, deserve this chance for opportunity and growth.   It has never been more important to America’s economic system than it is today for young people to be fully prepared to navigate successfully the vicissitudes of the world of work.

– Deborah D. Hoover, President

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Hudson, Ohio

By investing in entrepreneurship education programs, funders can open an exciting world of possibilities to young people, and help them develop new confidence, skills, and ambitions along the way.

– Stephanie Bell- Rose founding president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation

At a time when America’s leadership in the global economy is being challenged by a host of nations on the rise, we must give all young people the opportunities and encouragement they need in order to unleash their full potential. Aspen Institute’s Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group will expand entrepreneurship education to schools across the country—helping millions of students from all backgrounds to see themselves for the first time as the future business leaders and innovators our economy and society need.

– Mario Morino, Chairman,

Venture Philanthropy Partners

What Community Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs are Saying…

Research indicates that greater connection with ‘real world’ activities and applications keeps kids engaged and in school.  To the extent that we want to crack the code of the drop-out problem in the United States, entrepreneurship education is an essential part of the combination.

Charles Hiteshew, COO

America’s Promise

I know a secret which, if fully understood by our government, business, and community leaders, could have enormous positive implications for the future of our society. Simply put, the secret is this: Children born into poverty have special gifts that prepare them for business formation and wealth creation. They are mentally strong, resilient, and full of chutzpah. They are skeptical of hierarchies and the status quo. They are long-suffering in the face of adversity. They are comfortable with risk and uncertainty. They know how to deal with stress and conflict. These are the attitudes and abilities that make them ideally suited for breaking out of the cycle of dependency that so often comes with poverty and for getting ahead in the marketplace.

In short, poor kids are “street smart,” or what we at the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) call “business smart.” Precisely because of their poverty–that is, because of their experience surviving in a challenging world–they are able to perceive and pursue fleeting opportunities that others, more content with their lot in life, tend to miss.
Steve Mariotti, Founder

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Inc.

At its most basic, educating youth about entrepreneurship provides them with financial and business skills they can use in every facet of their lives. More importantly, it gives them a path to follow for turning their ideas into thriving businesses, along with the inspiration and empowerment to do so. To stimulate entrepreneurial activity and develop the business owners and civic leaders of the future, there’s no better investment than education.

Ray Leach,CEO
JumpStart Inc.

Too many young people just give up on their education when told, ” If you don’t go to college you won’t amount to anything.”   Entrepreneurship education provides the motivation necessary for these high school and middle school students to see themselves as owners, even millionaires, and aspire to make it happen with pursuit of education.  Even elementary school isn’t too early to start acquiring the knowledge and experience necessary to create an entrepreneurial-based, success-driven mindset.  We need to all remember, “The Entrepreneurs of tomorrow are in our schools today!

Cathy Ashmore,  Executive Director

Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education

I support the work of the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group to
place entrepreneurship education in every school in America, because we
must make education relevant to our youth. I grew up in South Central
Los Angeles and Compton, California, and I have seen firsthand the
almost natural entrepreneurial spirits of young people there. I was one
of them, starting my first business at age 10. I am an entrepreneur
today because of that early experience. I believe that our kids are
dropping out of high school at record rates because they don’t believe
that education is relevant to their futures. How to make education
relevant to their futures? Show kids how to create wealth, legally. That’s
financial literacy, free enterprise and capitalism, silver rights, and

John Hope Bryant
Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer Operation HOPE, Inc.
Vice Chairman
U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy Washington, DC

During 2008 we had the greatest number of inquiries concerning our Entrepreneurship programs from high school students in the U.S. than in any of the previous eight years.  Young people today are starting and operating real businesses in numbers never considered possible.  We must do all we can to support and encourage these Young Entrepreneurs.

Hank Kopcial, Executive Director

NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation

I SAID YES! Youth Entrepreneurship Campaign:

We are now inviting national leaders and organizations to add a signature and personal voice to this important campaign to support the scaling of Youth Entrepreneurship education in America’s Schools and schools around the world.  (contact Julie.kantor@nfte.com )

With 1.2 million U.S. kids dropping out annually, we need to give young people a relevant and real life education that our youth can say YES! to.  This campaign will be mobilized around National and Global Entrepreneurship Weeks coming up in the Fall and Winter as well as key policy briefings. As a recognized leader, your signature and quote will be used in our campaign as a way to demonstrate to policy leaders that there is a ground up movement to help our youth prepare for the more entrepreneurial future that is emerging here in America.


The Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group (YES  Group) is an historic initiative between the Aspen Institute in partnership with the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and E*TRADE Bank.  We have been convening prominent leaders from the fields of education, entrepreneurship and business, public policy, media and philanthropy to explore the promise of, and obstacles to, implementing youth entrepreneurship education in low-income communities nationwide.

Our 35 member organizations representing thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of youth throughout the U.S. and abroad include:

(as of 9/08) Goldman Sachs Foundation ▪ Harvard School of Education ▪ Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education ▪ QuestBridge ▪ Crenshaw High School, LA ▪ Communities In Schools ▪ Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ▪ Babson College ▪ Miami-Dade County Public Schools ▪ DECA Inc., ▪ OppenheimerFunds, Inc. ▪ KIPP: Knowledge is Power Program ▪ Brandeis University ▪ The Coleman Foundation ▪ America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth ▪ The Burton D. Morgan Foundation ▪ W.K. Kellogg Foundation ▪ National Human Services Assembly ▪ JA Worldwide ▪ National Governors Association ▪ The National Foundation for  Teaching Entrepreneurship ▪ E*TRADE Bank ▪ Corporation for Enterprise Development ▪ Forum for Youth Investment ▪ VSP Capital ▪ NYS Deputy Secretary of Education ▪ Education Sector and Eduwonk.com ▪ National Education Association ▪ Kathryn W. Davis Foundation ▪ Juma Ventures, Inc. ▪ Philadelphia University ▪ Miami Dade College ▪ Alliance for Excellent Education ▪  E-Prep.

Campaign Outreach Partners now include (as of 9/13/08) Making Cents International, America Forward, NFIB

Produced from the first convening was the YES Group conference report, Advancing Entrepreneurship Education:  http://www.aspeninstitute.org/yesg.

WE SAID YES! Join Us. We know that entrepreneurship engages young people in school. In a time of unprecedented drop-out rates, we strive diligently to be part of the solution to this great threat to our country’s futures.  Our goal is to develop a concrete, viable strategy to advance the teaching of entrepreneurship in the nation’s schools, and to prompt public discussion and action for increased offerings of entrepreneurship education. By joining us in saying YES!, your organization will help us raise the profile and possibilities for youth entrepreneurship education, helping build the foundation for a better future for our youth and economy. Hope we can count you in!

On November 18, 2008 the YES Group will launch an official Policymaker’s Action Guide for the advancement of entrepreneurship education nationwide. This guide will provide you and others with specific strategies to use to advance this initiative throughout your community, your state and our nation.  A PDF version is to you on the Aspen Institute website  at  http://www.aspeninst.org/policy-work/youth-entrepreneurship-strategy-group or www.nfte.com/news/publicpolicy


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