As districts forge career and technical education tracks to better serve their students, not incorporating the Entrepreneurial Mindset would be the missed opportunity of the century.
In a historic moment of great opportunity—with more information, tools, and educational resources at our fingertips than ever before—73 million youth are unemployed globally, and in the next 20 years, there will be at least 600 million more young people looking for work than projected jobs. And today’s jobs will not exist tomorrow.
What can we do to help? Provide every young person the skills needed to succeed in an innovation economy.
These skills go beyond math and English. They go beyond subject matter knowledge and instead equip youth to successfully navigate a variety of challenges and opportunities. NFTE calls these skills the Entrepreneurial Mindset, and through rigorous research and analysis, we have identified the eight factors that are critical to this mindset:
• Opportunity recognition
• Comfort with risk
• Creativity and innovation
• Future orientation
• Flexibility and adaptability
• Initiative and self-reliance
• Critical thinking and problem solving
• Communication and collaboration
Young people who experience NFTE and practice the Entrepreneurial Mindset are transformed. The confidence, poise, and creative problem solving abilities that they demonstrate are humbling. And many NFTE students have profound obstacles to overcome.
The call to action to teach the Entrepreneurial Mindset is so important to us that we are revamping our entire award-winning curriculum to teach these eight key factors via experiential activities. We’re also going a step further, expanding our course offerings to create the Entrepreneurship Pathway—a series of programs that teach the entrepreneurial mindset alongside startup and career skills, with students receiving academic and industry credentials along the way. The Pathway will include the best practices of digitally blended learning, allowing us to reach more students by leveraging the very best education tools available. It will also include the Entrepreneurial Mindset Index (EMI), the first tool to measure mastery of entrepreneurial skills and behaviors, which we are creating in partnership with EY and Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Our goal: to have the Entrepreneurial Mindset taught in every school in the world, so that every student in the world has the opportunity to realize his or her potential, to leverage the opportunities inherent in a global innovation economy, and to succeed.
Thanks to the generosity of The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, we have the support needed to build the Entrepreneurship Pathway, and by the year 2022 we can expect to reach ten times the number of youth we currently serve in the United States, plus hundreds of thousands more internationally. This is a transformative start. But it is a start.
We will work to activate the Entrepreneurial Mindset in every young person. Let the next generation of young people not be characterized by anxiety or isolation but rather be celebrated as the Entrepreneurial Generation.
We are deeply grateful to the many business leaders, entrepreneurs, employers, and educators working with us to make this vision a reality. Among them is the latest addition to NFTE’s Board of Directors, Rahfeal Gordon, a NFTE graduate who is now an award-winning entrepreneur, global speaker, and author. Rahfeal speaks about the significance of the Entrepreneurial Mindset in a moving address to educators and policymakers, The Entrepreneurial Mindset Changes Lives.
Join us. Together we can change the future for youth around the world.
Interested in teaching the Entrepreneurial Mindset at your school? Please contact Kim Smith, SVP, Programs and Research, at Kim.Smith@nfte.com.
Interested in supporting our work to impact more youth? Please contact Ann Marie Almeida, SVP, Marketing and Development, at AnnMarie.Almeida@nfte.com.