Posts Tagged ‘YESG’


I now receive weekly requests now from media and educational leaders to understand the field of youth entrepreneurship education. I am not surprised, there is a lot happening and with unemployment hovering at 10% and a growing epidemic of high school dropouts (1:2 minority youth), we really need programs to engage youth with RELEVANT AND REAL LIFE SKILLS in our schools.

From a recent White House Report (not yet released), to the World Economic Forum paper, to an Aspen Institute Publication and NFTE research– I hope these links on page 2 will help you in your journey to better understand our field and to help youth find their PATHWAYS TO PROSPERITY.

The best Powerpoint presentation that I have ever seen is ‘Shift Happens,’ (on slideshare– over a million viewers) because it tells a story, its fascinating, and the graphics by my new friend Jeff Brenman are stunning… Most importantly, my ADD brain took it all in and I really learned something and wanted to share it with everyone I knew/know… so being my entrepreneurial self I begged Jeff to help me create a visual slideshow to share the importance of youth entrepreneurship education in America and explain NFTE in a fun and entertaining style (see Tanya’s Story… its a true story of one of our DC youth… and her story, to me represents thousands of youth … see link below).

If you have suggestions or other links I should really add — let me know. Write me anytime. Connect on Facebook or follow me and ‘Retweet’ on Twitter. I plan to update this document monthly and send related information out on NFTE and our field… weekly!

In Entrepreneurial Spirit,


Julie Kantor, National Vice President

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Washington Office (DC Programs and Government Affairs)



(updated 1-10)

 State of Entrepreneurship Conference – National Press Club, January 2010

” — in this time of great economic difficulty — is concerned above all else with creating more jobs for Americans…and there is simply no better vehicle for job creation than fostering entrepreneurship.,” Secretary of Commerce, Locke, January 2010. Entrepreneurs create approximately three million jobs a year.”

1] Ten9EIGHT- Shoot for the Moon – POWERFUL Movie in AMC Theatres this past Fall and will air upcoming on BET February 7th at 12:00pm featuring 25 NFTE Students by famous producer Mary Mazzio of 50 Eggs Productions: – Movie premiered at Aspen Ideas Festival- July 1, 2009 and is profiled on the front page of the Aspen site . The movie will be introduced by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. JOIN Facebook ‘fan’ site for movie-

2] Tanya’s Story — Powerful New Presentation- Youth Entrepreneurship in America Site becoming an internet sensation with over 8,000 Slideshare viewers and through viral marketing to explore impact of youth entrepreneurship education with Obama and Duncan quotes (Four students– each receiving $50 and how they invested their money…)

3] USA TODAY ARTICLE – Cover story in Money section on youth creating their own jobs in this tight labor market

4] NFTE IMPACT – Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has engaged in extensive research efforts with more underway to study ourselves and assess impact.

5] MAJOR REPORT – released in May by the World Economic Forum “Educating the Next Wave of Entrepreneurs” or – NFTE wrote the youth chapter.

The World Economic Forum’s Educating the Next Wave of Entrepreneurs report issues a call to action to catalyse entrepreneurship globally through education
Issued by the Forum’s Global Education Initiative, • the report aims to raise awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship education in unlocking entrepreneurial capabilities to meet the global challenges of the 21st century

“Entrepreneurship education is crucial in restarting the economy in this time of economic crisis”-

Alex Wong, Head of Global Education Initiative, World Economic Forum .

6] NFTE Greater Washington & Government Affairs Social Media Links

Facebook: . for information on the April 28th Dare to Dream Gala in Washington DC.

7] Aspen Institute’s Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group (YES Group) – links to key publications and membership “Youth Entrepreneurship in America – Policymakers Action Guide” (if trouble finding after 1-2010 — contact The group has now become the Youth Entrepreneurship Alliance… details can now be found at under the Consortium of Entrepreneurship Education.

8] INSPIRING BOOK! I SAID YES! Real Life Stories of Students, Teachers and Leaders Saying YES! to Entrepreneurship in America’s Schools by Julie Kantor –

9] Survey of the States 2009: The State of Economic, Financial and Entrepreneurship Education in our Nation’s Schools by the Council for Economic Education WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED… JOIN THE NFTE CAUSE ON FACEBOOK AND STAY IN THE LOOP WITH EVENTS AND NEWS UPDATES :

NFTE’s official website is

Julie Kantor’s Blog on Youth Entrepreneurship in America! :

Twitter: Follow “@NFTEJuliek” to stay in the know… or find me on Facebook for daily/weekly updates.

About  Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is an international nonprofit organization that teaches young people from low-income communities to think like entrepreneurs, so they can take control of their futures. Founded in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former New York City public school teacher, it originally began as a dropout prevention and academic performance improvement program for students who were at risk of failing or quitting school. Today, NFTE has grown into a comprehensive business education program in 22 states and 12 countries with more than 280,000 graduates and more than 1,500 NFTE-certified entrepreneurship teachers. (



“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 individual entrepreneurs and their communities as a whole,”

– House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller.

“Entrepreneurship education is good for kids because it’s not just about running a business it’s also about running yourlife. The entrepreneurship side is a plus. The future depends on our generation and if we all learned how to run our own business then we would be able to live in a fully functional community. The mere fact that a kid knows about entrepreneurship is a plus in the job field. Society is split into two sections; those that work for themselves and those that work for others. In learning entrepreneurship you learn how to do both so you can work for yourself and work for others and are ahead of the curve.”

– Fantashia Stevens, Youth Entrepreneur

For Immediate Release





The world economy is changing rapidly, and this brings enormous challenges and opportunities for educating America’s youth. With the right portfolio of skills, especially in science and math, as well as the development of creativity, young Americans can become the world’s next generation of enterprising and innovative business people. But we have not yet created an educational environment that fully develops these critical skills in young people. As a result, America’s youth–especially the growing numbers of high school dropouts–lose the opportunity to enjoy successful and rewarding careers, and our nation loses the opportunity to lead in an increasingly competitive world.

We can change this course. Lacking in our youth is an entrepreneurial mindset — a critical mix of success-oriented attitudes of initiative, intelligent risk-taking, collaboration, and opportunity recognition skills. With the pace of innovation, many of the jobs our children will hold don’t even exist yet. Not only will the traditional skills of reading, writing, and math be needed to thrive in this economy, but also technological savvy and self-direction. More than ever, we need to educate students to be dynamic, lifelong learners.

We believe that expanding the availability of youth entrepreneurship education resources should be a critical part of this solution. Through the process of starting their own ventures, young minds are engaged, talent is explored, and youth, particularly at risk youth, become empowered.


by Julie Silard Kantor, on behalf of the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group (YES)

and The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

I have gone to so many conferences and briefings, and met with so many fascinating experts over the last few months, that my head is spinning with endless data points and facts on the subject of high-school dropout rates and America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

I am reflecting now on why our causeyouth entrepreneurship education for low-income youth matters. The stakes are high, since it can actually be part of the solution to one of our country’s greatest challenges: how to bring economically at-risk young people into mainstream society.

Not only is this an important contemporary civil rights issue, as power and influence in this country rests with those who own (isn’t it interesting that we teach our kids to be employees but not to be owners), but it is an issue of America’s future and competitiveness.

Did you know that 7,000 young people dropped out of America’s high schools last Friday?

That happens every day.

Outraged? I hope so. The fact is, 1.2 million kids drop out of school every year and it costs over $329 billion in lost wages annually — according to Bob Wise,[*] who spoke at the Aspen Institute’s Wye Center, as well as powerful research presented by Robert Balfanz of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University.

To break it down, Balfanz’s research shows that one out of three of America’s young people overall will not graduate high school, and that includes 50 percent of minority youth. Forty-eight percent of the dropouts in America come from 2,000 high schools being called “dropout factories.” These are our children we’re talking about.

The decision to drop out is a one-million-dollar decision in lost wages for each child who makes it. Further, 90 percent of the fastest-growing employment categories in America require a college degree — our kids won’t be able to compete — many more jobs will have to go overseas.

This eye-opening research comes from Belfanz, and John Bridgeland,[†] whose report, “The Silent Epidemic,” I encourage you to read.

General Colin Powell recently spoke at an event for America’s Promise that I attended to kick off the Drop-Out Summits that will be taking place in 50 cities — to bring national awareness to this epidemic. As General Powell notes, the dropout crisis impacts our economy and even our national security. We cannot remain a world superpower if we do not give our children the resources they need to succeed.

The number one predictor of a child’s future success is whether he or she will graduate — we can’t afford to let nearly one-third of our kids fail. Powell confirms that just conferring a diploma is not enough. Students must graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college, work, and life.

Bridgeland interviewed high school dropouts (here’s where “our cause” comes in — NFTE and the E*Trade-sponsored Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy [YES] Group is building a coalition to reverse this trend with such prestigious partners as the Aspen Institute, Council of Governors, Junior Achievement, DECA, Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, and others) and asked them why they dropped out of school:

81% said they would not have if the subjects were more relevant to real life.

Teaching children how to make it financially, how to own their futures as economically productive members of society, is both real life and relevant. Getting business leaders into classrooms to share their expertise and optimism is key. Youth entrepreneurship engages young people and gives them a good reason to go to school. Some salient facts:

Research by the Harvard Graduate School of Education has found that having taken a course from NFTE:

  • Increases interest in attending college and heightens career aspirations
  • Increases students’ feeling of control over their lives
  • Increases leadership behaviors

Findings from internal evaluation conducted nationally through an online system called TEAMS further indicate that contact with NFTE:

  • Increases engagement in school
  • Increases students’ sense of connection with adults in business and the community
  • Increases independent reading
  • Increases business and entrepreneurial knowledge

Belfanz maintains that youth entrepreneurship is:

  • A reason for kids to come to school
  • An avenue for short-term success
  • A help in providing a clear pathway to adult success
  • A way to develop neighborhood assets

Did you know that, according to the Department of Labor, the average American will have 8 to 10 jobs by the age of 38? If I were going to have so many jobs, I’d sure look at myself differently — less as an employee and more of a free agent. I’d want to hone my entrepreneurial and networking skills, and more — just to survive in the economy.

Many years ago, a NFTE student, Michelle Araujo, summed it up: “My dream is not to die in poverty, but to have poverty die in me!”

I’d love your opinions — please post them or e-mail me at

We need to fast-track our work so we reach these kids and not lose another generation of young people who need to fuel their dreams and have belief in their own potential.

Julie Kantor
Executive Director
NFTE-Greater Washington ( <> )

Note: Julie will become NFTE’s National Vice President, Office of Public Policy, based in Washington, effective July 1, 2008, and have the task of expanding entrepreneurship education in America’s Schools.

[*] President of the Alliance for Excellent Education.

[†] John M. Bridgeland, et al., The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts. A report issued in association with Peter D. Hart Research Association for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises, March 2006.



Julie Silard Kantor, Executive Director, NFTE- Greater Washington

NFTE National Vice President, Office of Public Policy (effective July 1, 2008)

One day, I sat in a crowd of 1000 at the annual Inc. 500 Conference for the fastest growing companies in America. It was May, 1991 and little did I know then, that my life would be changed forever. The keynote speaker—a man named Steve Mariotti was an entrepreneur turned school teacher. After a violent encounter with a group of young people in NYC, he realized that many of America’s youth feel alienated and have no pathway to prosperity. He decided to take action and became a drop-out specialist working with low-income youth in schools like the Jane Adams Vocational HS in the South Bronx. A high percentage of the young people in the schools he worked in were dropping out at alarming rates.


A young man approached me at the conference. He was no older than 16. He handed me his business card, which read: Terrell Johnson, President, TJ’s Accessories, Newark, New Jersey. I asked Terrell if I could see his scarves, and how much they cost.

“They’re $10 each, but I’ll sell you two for $16 — conference special,” he said with a grin that made me think I might buy four.

We started talking and it turned out that Terrell was all of fifteen. I picked out two scarves and handed him a 20-dollar bill. “Hey, would you like to see my business plan?” he asked, as he handed me my change and receipt. I looked over his plan and noticed he had bought the scarves in New York for $36 a dozen ($3 each!). Now that I knew his “cost of goods sold,” which should be classified information for an entrepreneur, I thought less of my big price break — conference special, huh?

But now that I was in his confidence, Terrell told me he typically made $7 on each scarf, and he walked me through sections of his business plan, including his “economics of one unit” page. On his monthly income statement, Terrell showed me that he grossed about $700 each month, but explained he could not keep much of that money as it went towards his monthly costs of doing business and also helping his family out financially.

“I haven’t taken out my USAIIR yet!” he said.

“Your USAir?” I asked, curious what he meant.

“Yes, like the airline,” he replied. “It stands for my operating costs. You see,” he paused to compose himself as if he were standing on a podium at a spelling bee, “U stands for Utilities, S stands for Salaries, A is for Advertising, I stands for Interest and Insurance, and R is my Rent.”

I had to smile. Here I was, working for the premiere small business magazine in the country, and this 15-year-old knew more about actual business than I did!

Inspired, I joined forces with Steve and his partner (and NFTE’s Executive VP) Mike Caslin shortly after as a volunteer and then went full time February 1992 to build NFTE in Boston and parts of New England.

In 1995, I had the honor to return home to my hometown, Washington, DC, to build NFTE in our nation’s capital. Now, twelve years into running NFTE programs in the Washington, DC region we are even more convinced then entrepreneurship education must be a foundation course in every American school. This program is most especially vital for 11-18 year-olds who live in low-income communities and the one-third of all Washington area youth who live in poverty.

We at NFTE believe that teaching entrepreneurship to our youth is a fundamental life skill. NFTE is proven to get kids more engaged in school and their economic futures. The entrepreneurial skills learned in NFTE classes reinforce basic academic skills, as well as develops critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and decision-making. We focus is serving youth from low-income communities by targeting schools where 40% of students qualify for the federally-funded reduced or free lunch program.


Mary Blackford’s High School, Woodson High School in Northeast Washington DC is listed as one of the 2000 ‘drop-out’ factory schools in the country. Mary, a natural leader has benefited from many programs like NFTE (and also Hoop Dreams), started a gift basket company with $50. She presented a 22 page PowerPoint Business Plan at Allied Capital Corporation in 2006.

Impressed with her entrepreneurial nature, Mary received a lot of praise, but took 4th place. That didn’t deter her. Her revenues grew as did her self esteem. We put her in touch with our friend Joe Mahoney at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and she was not only accepted to our nation’s #1 school for entrepreneurship, but she received a full four year scholarship and also a women’s leadership scholarship, in total over $200,000!

Now Mary launched her business with $50 donated as part of a larger gift from David Roodberg, CEO of Horning Brothers (David, we hope you are thrilled with the great ROI in so many young people’s lives).

In an enlightening talk a few weeks ago with Mary we discussed the impact of that first $50 from David Roodberg. She told me her friend Lisa* spent $50 on a few sparkling T-shirts from Forever 21 at Pentagon City Mall and was OOC (out of cash). Her brother made $1 in interest after putting $50 in a bank for a year. Janelle gave all of her money to her mother for food. Mary, with $50 launches Season Sentiments Gift Company and made a few thousand dollars her first two months in business and is trying to figure out how to stock her inventory in her dorm room.

Since our inception in 1994, NFTE-Greater Washington has expanded from 200 to 18,000 students served, providing entrepreneurship education to youth as a pathway to prosperity by way of experiential academic programming that reinforces math, reading, writing, and entrepreneurial mindset and develops skills in critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and decision-making. We have remained focused on serving youth from low-income communities by targeting schools where 40% of students qualify for the federally-funded reduced or free lunch program. We serve males and females ages 11-19 from the District of Columbia, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.


In a study called ‘The Silent Epidemic’ commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we learned the shocking statistic that 30% of American youth drop out of high school before graduation. What makes this reality even more frustrating to us is that 81% of those who dropped out said that they would have stayed in school if they were learning more about the “real world” and taking courses “relevant” to their futures. 7000 young people that woke up this morning dropped out of school today. It seems so simple to us at NFTE, that if our schools were teaching entrepreneurship in the fundamental curriculum, we would have less kids dropping out of high school, less debate on how to ‘fix our schools’, and more high-school graduates who are economically productive members of society.


Entrepreneurship education evokes strong interest in young people because it uniquely combines their personal interests with making money in the marketplace. Entrepreneurship sparks creativity and imagination and is at the root of self-expression, self-actualization, business success, and personal freedom. No matter what path a young person chooses – whether employee or self-employed – entrepreneurship education can be a pivotal learning opportunity and transformational experience for many children of disadvantage.

In the United States, NFTE is at the heart of the true meaning of the “American Dream” because the foundation gives opportunities to youth of all backgrounds and circumstances. Globally, NFTE’s program is highly relevant because of today’s increasingly competitive work environment. Individuals with developed business skills and an entrepreneurial mindset have a significant and valuable advantage over others, making this kind of learning essential to youth from low-income communities. Without entrepreneurship education in poorer cities and countries around the world, the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” will continue to grow worse.

Learning entrepreneurship is a fundamental life skill that has been proven to positively impacts young people’s sense of well-being and locus of control. Research by the Harvard School of Education on NFTE’s impact on youth showed that at-risk children who receive entrepreneurship training have: a stronger desire to seek higher education, do more independent reading, feel more connected to their schools and communities and feel more in control of their lives and the future.


There is an amazing group of leaders continually convening for the second time this May to look at how we can expand entrepreneurship to low-income youth in America’s Schools. NFTE has partnered with the Aspen Institute to create the first-ever Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES) Group, funded by grants from E*TRADE Financial. Many of our great colleagues in the field from JA to DECA to America’s Promise, ACTE and Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education are members.

You can access the YES Group’s first report here titled ‘Advancing Entrepreneurship Education’ to stay informed and hopefully, engage with us on this MISSION. It’s POSSIBLE!:

Link to report

Add Link to Silent Epidemic Study and John Hopkins Study

Add Link to Babson College

Add Link to America’s Promise Drop Out Summits
Please feel free to contact Julie Kantor directly at to discuss how we can expand Entrepreneurship into America’s schools and more!

[1] Bridgeland, John M., et al. (March 2006). The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts. A report in association with Peter D. Hart Research Association for the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation. Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises

[1] National Council on Economic Education (June 2007). Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools in 2007. New York: National Council on Economic Education