NFTE is deeply committed to conducting and using high quality research to inform our model, understand our impact, and improve our practices.

Our approach is supported by substantial evidence from internal and external evaluation studies as well as testimonials from students, teachers, program staff, and experts in the field.

Over the past two decades, NFTE has pioneered research in the area of youth entrepreneurship. In particular, NFTE has commissioned research on program impact with Brandeis University (1993-97, and 2006-08), the Koch Foundation (1998-99), and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (2002-2004). The following are some highlights of these studies.

Harvard Graduate School of Education Research

Research Focus: Academics/Career

  • NFTE students’ interest in attending college increased 32% over the course of the program (compared to a 17% decrease for the control group of non-NFTE students)
  • Occupational aspirations among NFTE students increased 44% (compared to only a 10% increase for non-NFTE students)
  • Independent reading among NFTE students increased 4% (compared to a 4% decrease for non-NFTE students)
  • Leadership behavior among NFTE students increased 8.5% as starters/founders of activities and 13.2% as leaders (compared to a 2.4% decrease and a 6.2% increase for non-NFTE students, respectively)
  • Belief that attaining one’s goals is within one’s control (locus of control) among NFTE students increased 3.1% (compared to 0.6% for non-NFTE students).

Read more about this research in the full report, "Initiating, Leading, and Feeling in Control of One's Fate" and "Expanded Explorations into the Psychology of Entrepreneurship."


Koch Foundation Research

Research Focus: Business Knowledge/Formation

The following findings are taken from a study of NFTE’s NYC alumni; similar findings were found among Washington, DC alumni.

  • 83% of NFTE alumni want to start their own business (compared to 57% of the control group).
  • 36% of NFTE alumni have actually started a business (compared to 9% for the control group).
  • 95% of alumni report that NFTE improved their business skills and knowledge and 99% of them would recommend the program to others.

Read more about the results of this research from our programs in New York and Washington DC.

Brandeis University Research

Research Focus: Business Knowledge/Alumni Follow-up
This research utilized random assignment.

  • Business knowledge increased 62% among NFTE students (compared to 3% of the control group)
  • In a follow-up survey of alumni 70% were in post-secondary education, 43% had part-time jobs, and 20% had full-time jobs.

Read more about this research.