Spring 2019: NFTE Entrepreneurship Pathway Update

As we head into April, classroom competitions are starting to heat up for our Entrepreneurship 1 (E1) students. It’s a big accomplishment learning how to present your business ideas in front of an audience and a panel of judges, whether or not you’ve set your sights on entering the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge competition series this year. Of course, our advanced Entrepreneurship 2 (E2) students are old hands at presenting their businesses, having gone through the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge last spring and, in many cases, also having taken part in a BizCamp or Startup Summer program last summer. But presenting to an investor panel can be daunting even if you’ve been honing your plan and pitch all year.

Preparing for competition season is one of the major milestones in a student’s NFTE journey.

With spring upon us, both E1 and E2 students are on track to complete coursework for Units 1-5. In E1 classrooms, students have spent two months figuring out their channels to their customers and the cost structure for their unit of sale. In E2 classrooms, students have spent time putting together an operations plan for launch and assembled a financing strategy to identify the investment capital needed to start their business. Students in both courses will soon be doing some research and customer testing to finalize their lean business canvas in advance of classroom competitions.

News from the Field: Pitch Competitions, Mid-Year Surveys and Course Enhancements

After completion of Unit 5, E1 and E2 students will begin preparing for their classroom competitions. In E1, students will have the opportunity to present both a 6-slide fast pitch and full 10-slide opportunity pitch. The E1 judges will be looking for innovative opportunities that effectively solve the intended problem for a target customer. In E2, students will be presenting a 10-slide investment pitch around their business that is ready for operations and the financing they will need to launch. The E2 judges will be awarding seed funding to businesses that are feasible, innovative, and clearly communicate the need for the financing. Both E1 and E2 students will present for chances to advance to regional and national rounds of the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge series.

NFTE program teams have now administered surveys to teachers and students to evaluate the effectiveness of the E1 and E2 courses. The survey results have helped us evaluate the first few months of implementation, identify enhancements to improve the curriculum and the Canvas LMS, and see opportunities for more robust training and support options. The NFTE pilot team is already working on several potential upgrades to the courses that will be ready for this summer’s trainings and for implementation in the fall!