Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Nifty NFTE

Last night at my class at Kellogg, we used a case study about an amazing organization called the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, or NFTE. David Nelson, the COO taught the students about NFTE's experience with strategic planning, organizational focus, and reworking mission statements, all to the benefit of the young people NFTE serves. It was wonderful and sobering.

NFTE, the brainchild of entrepreneur Steve Mariotti, has been well covered in the general press, as well as the focus of two Harvard Business School case studies. The concept is that, through teaching business skills to low income high school students, you can focus the students on something that interests them while at the same time making them use reading, writing and math skills.

And it works. In addition to using various models to spread the program, NFTE has engaged top flight academic institutions to measure its impact. And it works. The early results show that NFTE graduates have more interest in reading, more interest in math than their non-NFTE peers. That's huge.

The concept was great. The implementation, at least in the early years, was sporadic. But NFTE, through the application of good business skills, has turned on the afterburners, and is reaching more youth than ever.

I love it.

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