The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship's mission is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures.
Founded in New York City in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former entrepreneur turned high school math teacher in the South Bronx, NFTE began as a program to prevent dropouts and improve academic performance among students who were at risk of failing or quitting school.
Combining his business background with his desire to teach at-risk students, Steve discovered that when young people from low-income communities are given the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship, their innate "street smarts" can easily develop into "academic smarts" and "business smarts." Through entrepreneurship, young people discover that what they are learning in the classroom is relevant to the real world.
To date, NFTE has worked with more than 500,000 young people from low-income communities in programs across the U.S. and around the world.
The NFTE Program Model
Our program model is classroom-based with entrepreneurship curricula that teach math and literacy skills in the context of building a business plan. Programs are rigorous, experiential, and vital to students’ futures, and volunteers from local businesses share their expertise in our classrooms. At the end of the course, the students have a chance to compete for seed capital through a series of business plan competitions, from their classroom, to Regionals, to NFTE’s national competition held in New York City.
Our NFTE Student Participants
Our students come from low-income communities in major cities across the country, which are often plagued by crime, violence, and high dropout rates. Conversely, NFTE instills hope and improves students’ lives through entrepreneurship education. We teach skills relevant to the real world, and motivate students to stay in school and learn. When they realize how math and reading and communication skills can make or break their own entrepreneurial venture, their vision of the world changes.
NFTE’s innovative and relevant program courses inspire them to graduate, go to college, and embark on successful careers. They learn to recognize opportunities for success all around them. They graduate with the necessary presentation, leadership, and problem-solving skills for continuing their education and contributing to the economy by either running their own businesses or joining the workforce. The strong financial literacy skills that students learn help them to make and manage money.