Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship

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NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship)
Non Profit Organization
Founded 1987
Headquarters New York City, United States
Key people
Steve Mariotti, Founder;
Shawn Osborne, President & CEO

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (Originally National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship), also referred to as NFTE (pronounced Nifty), is an international non-profit organization providing entrepreneurship training and education programs to young people from low-income urban communities.

Through the organization's patented entrepreneurship education,[1] NFTE helps young people build entrepreneurial creativity and skills. Since 1987, NFTE has reached more than 500,000 young people, and currently has programs in 18 states and 10 countries.[2]

NFTE provides a highly academic programs, working with established universities such as Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania, in order to attempt to inspire young adults to recognize opportunity and plan for successful futures, by pursuing educational opportunities and by encouraging starting their own businesses.[3][4]


Founded in 1987 by business executive and entrepreneur Steve Mariotti, while he was a public high school teacher in New York City’s South Bronx, NFTE was started up as a program to prevent high school dropout and improve academic performance among at-risk urban students. Combining his business background with his desire to teach at-risk students, Mariotti developed his concept based on the theory that low-income youth when given an opportunity in entrepreneurship, can employ their innate “street smarts” to develop “academic smarts” and “business smarts.”[5]


President Barack Obama greets NFTE Challenge finalists at the White House in October 2010.

NFTE programs instruct in entrepreneurship using experiential curriculum, developed through associations with major universities, as well as NFTE personnel's own experiences in teaching. There multiple versions designed for middle school, high school, and young adult students, with graduated levels of reading and complexity.[6]

The curriculum may be used in a semester-long or year-long entrepreneurship course work, with the programs are offered in a variety of settings, including public schools, after-school programs at community-based organizations, and summer business camps. Business plan competitions and regional competitions organized by NFTE and program partners, lead to national NFTE competitions each year. Winning students receive a trip to the annual awards dinner in New York City and a grant to apply toward their business or college expenses.

NFTE runs two-week, intensive summer programs for advanced at-risk students, age 13 to 18, called BizCamps. The camp includes field trips, guest speakers and full day, five-days-a-week course work, providing a solid understanding of business. At the end of the camp, students compete for cash awards to fund their businesses or college.[7][8]

Anecdotal Results[edit]

Tim Perez, 18, of San Leandro, CA founded his own custom website development business, T Perez Designs. “NFTE empowered me to start my own business and educated me on how to run it, how to build a business plan, marketing, finances, you name it,” Perez says. “It literally built my fundamental understanding of business. Without NFTE, I would still be trying to find myself. With NFTE, I’m able to buy my own clothes, help pay my college tuition, and support myself when I get to college. Not a lot of teenagers, especially from my neighborhood, can say that.” [9]

Another NFTE graduate Amber Liggett, founder of Amber’s Amazing Animal Balloons, was named the 2011 Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year,an award is sponsored by the Goldman Sachs Foundation.[10] She was also named Black Enterprise’s Teenpreneur of the Year and was featured on PBS’s award-winning television show, Bizkid$.[11]

2013 graduates Jesus Fernandez and Toheeb Okenla of South Holland, IL, turned to their shared interest and greatest passion: soccer. From there T&J Soccer was born. Toheeb came to the United States from Nigeria with his family at age 8 and recently lost his father. Jesus came from Michoacán, Mexico in search of better opportunities.[12]


  1. ^ "Classroom Programs". NFTE. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  2. ^ Young Entrepreneur Council. 2012. Fix Young America: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work. Advantage Media Group, p. 112.
  3. ^ A Youth Entrepreneurship Program Goes International By JESSICA BRUDER The New York Times, 2012
  4. ^ Wharton University of Pennsylvania Entrepreneurship program, 2010
  5. ^ NFTE Celebrates 10 Years by Wendy Gordon The Baltimore Times, 2011
  6. ^ Amy Rosen, Adjunct Professor Columbia University Business School Directory, 2008
  7. ^ NFTE sends winner to the White House Technically Philly, 2011
  8. ^ NFTE Philadelphia Joins Quorum Strategic Partner Alliance: Increases Opportunities for Young Entrepreneurs 2012 EON Business Wire
  9. ^ Bunn, Curtis (June 5, 2015). Urban News Service Retrieved July 1, 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Bunn, Curtis (June 5, 2015). Urban News Service Retrieved July 1, 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Retrieved July 1, 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)