Since 1987

Since our founding in 1987, NFTE has used an experiential learning model to ignite the entrepreneurial mindset. Students discuss and design solutions to real-world problems, create and deliver presentations, practice pitching and marketing, and work directly with volunteer business leaders to hone their skills.

Discover Your EMI Archetype

Igniting the Mindset

Can entrepreneurial mindset be taught? There is growing evidence that entrepreneurship education, particularly at early ages, helps students develop specific entrepreneurial skills. Research suggests non-cognitive skills are malleable and entrepreneurial skills can be fostered. Having an entrepreneurial mindset, these tools for life, prepares young people for lifelong success – in school, in business, and in life.

NFTE has developed a framework for describing this quintessentially entrepreneurial mindset, drawing on our depth of experience teaching entrepreneurship to young people. (See your EMI Archetype.)

This set of characteristics, attitudes, behaviors, and skills helps students identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and achieve in a variety of settings. They drive action and are essential for success in today’s ever-evolving innovation economy and future workforce. In NFTE’s model, the entrepreneurial mindset emphasizes eight core domains:

NFTE is especially grateful to EY, the founding sponsor of the NFTE Entrepreneurial Mindset Index.

Operation Mindset

NFTE Operation MindsetTM helps students grow their entrepreneurial mindsets and prepare to thrive in tomorrow’s workforce. The program features interactive, interpersonal, and introspective discussions, activities, and challenges. Students apply their entrepreneurial mindsets to reach short- and long-term goals and are encouraged to assess their existing strengths and identify mindset domains they would like to further grow.

Because this program provides a valuable framework and perspective for school, careers, personal lives, and how to contribute to a specific community or the world, students will create an action plan for using their own entrepreneurial mindsets to help them achieve several life goals and/or navigate several life obstacles they currently face. Operation Mindset’s flexible structure and wealth of resources make it ideal for in-school and out-of-school settings. Contact us to learn more.


An entrepreneurial mindset is a set of skills that enable people to identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings. Research shows that an entrepreneurial mindset is valued by employers, boosts educational attainment and performance, and is crucial for creating new businesses. NFTE incorporates the entrepreneurial mindset in all that we do. Our awareness programs introduce students to entrepreneurial concepts and our classrooms and camps embed NFTE’s entrepreneurial mindset domains into the curriculum, providing students with tools to assess and reflect upon their entrepreneurial mindset. You can learn more about entrepreneurial mindset in NFTE’s whitepaper, On Ramp to Opportunity.

Developing and measuring an entrepreneurial mindset is integral to NFTE’s work, driving our vision to ignite the entrepreneurial mindset of an entire generation. Working with researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and with signature support from EY, we designed the Entrepreneurial Mindset Index (EMI)™ to measure mastery in eight core domains that we have identified as critical to entrepreneurial thinking. NFTE’s EMI is a largely reliable and valid instrument to measure entrepreneurial mindset. The eight domains are captured with Likert items (questions that ask students to self-report agreement) and Situational Judgement Tests (questions that ask students to respond to a real-world scenario that is tied to a domain). You can learn more about NFTE’s development of the EMI and our latest research on entrepreneurial mindset in our whitepaper, Measuring Entrepreneurial Mindset in Youth. Read other EMI research and papers.

NFTE’s Entrepreneurial Mindset Index (EMI)™ serves as a resource for students and teachers in NFTE programs. The EMI is a tool to develop entrepreneurial awareness and build upon the entrepreneurial skills and behaviors that instill career readiness. Students receive a personalized report of their entrepreneurial mindset upon completion of the EMI. Based on their top three self-reported domains, students can learn about their EMI archetype and explore other archetypes as they begin their entrepreneurial journey. Throughout each NFTE program, students activate and grow confidence in using their entrepreneurial mindset. They then have an opportunity to take the EMI again at the end of the program to reflect on their progress throughout the NFTE experience.

NFTE’s Entrepreneurial Mindset Index™ (EMI) is a formative resource to help you have more awareness about your entrepreneurial mindset. Research shows that entrepreneurial behaviors can be taught and learned. The key to developing the entrepreneurial mindset is learning about the mindset domains, reflecting on your own mindset, and practicing the mindset in your life. While you may have multiple entrepreneurial mindset domains that complement you, use the results of your EMI report to find your entrepreneurial archetype. Of the six domains that measure entrepreneurial confidence, your EMI report points to your top three areas of strength. Those top three domains connect to an EMI archetype or entrepreneurs who appear most like you. Want to learn how you, your students or your team can receive a NFTE EMI report? Contact us.

As educators rethink the skills students need to be successful, they’re doing so with an eye toward career and college-readiness. Many states and school districts are expanding their focus to include important noncognitive skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. The entrepreneurial mindset pairs these traditional noncognitive skills with the quintessentially entrepreneurial skills demanded by today’s innovation economy. Research shows that developing an entrepreneurial mindset helps students engage in school, boosts educational performance, and is valued by employers. Resources:

We use a model that includes the NFTE Entrepreneurship Pathway and certification. NFTE’s innovative programs engage and challenge young people. Our Entrepreneurial Teacher Corps is trained to guide students as they develop their entrepreneurial mindset through experiential, project-based learning that integrates lean startup practices and digital tools. Advanced NFTE students are able to earn both the Intuit QuickBooks certification and the Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) certification from Certiport, a Pearson VUE business. NFTE also mobilizes business leaders and entrepreneurs as volunteers to bring real-world experience to every NFTE student. Dedicated skills-based volunteers serve as coaches, business advisors, field trip hosts, guest speakers and competition judges. They help young people develop their business ideas, refine their plans and pitches, and explore career opportunities.

Teaching entrepreneurship accelerates inclusiveness. NFTE programs reduce inequities in education and the workforce in two ways:

  • Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) ignites the entrepreneurial mindset with unique learning experiences that empower all students to own their futures. NFTE programs reduce the opportunity gap for students from under-resourced communities. This is significant at a time when an estimated 38% of young people are not adequately prepared for postsecondary success.
  • NFTE students who are young women are able to make tremendous gains in entrepreneurial mindset skills when compared to their male peers. This suggests that providing girls with early exposure to entrepreneurship can accelerate gender diversity among entrepreneurs.

No. The entrepreneurial mindset is essential to success in higher education, the military and in life. In the workplace, employers highly value in-demand skills that align closely with the entrepreneurial mindset. These future-ready skills also lead to high-wage jobs.