Tom Davidson

Why an Entrepreneurial Mindset Matters: The Power of Teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking

In 2012, President Obama declared that November is National Entrepreneurship Month, “a time when we celebrate the remarkable and everyday success of our entrepreneurs and innovators, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our economy remains the engine and the envy of the world.”

This month’s celebration goes beyond those individuals who have started successful companies. It extends to those who embrace the entrepreneurial mindset that helps even the most established companies grow and thrive. A recent Accenture study revealed that more than 90% of executives believe long-term success of their organization’s strategy depends on their ability to develop new ideas. Simultaneously, one in three employers say they are looking for entrepreneurial experience, underscoring the need for youth who are equipped to recognize opportunity, take initiative, and innovate in the face of challenges. However, a survey conducted by EverFi found that fewer than half of students feel prepared to identify a business opportunity or recognize the characteristics that make an entrepreneur.

Historically, entrepreneurship has been thought of as a cut-and-dried skill that a person has or doesn’t have. But EverFi and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) believe that teaching an entrepreneurial mindset is possible.

Power of Teaching Innovation in Schools

In 2014, EverFi partnered with NFTE to create Venture, a 3-4 hour web-based course that equips students with basic business and entrepreneurial skills. Students build their own simulated food truck business and learn how to assess risk, see opportunities, and develop a business idea. Along the way, they’ll be introduced to entrepreneurs to get real-life perspective. The course is implemented on a co-curricular basis in classrooms across the country, empowering them to find their inner entrepreneur as part of the school day. Data collected from students who completed the Venture program revealed a 40% increase in students feeling prepared with the skills to think and act like an entrepreneur after participating in the program.

“In today’s innovation economy, the entrepreneurial mindset is more important than ever no matter the path a student chooses in life,” noted Dan Delany, NFTE’s Chief Strategy Officer. “NFTE Venture is a great program that helps thousands of students to start their entrepreneurial journey.”

Founded in 1987, NFTE’s mission is to inspire young people from low-income areas to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities, and to plan for successful futures. NFTE has worked with more than 700,000 students in programs across the U.S. and around the world. Evaluation of NFTE’s intensive classroom programs finds meaningful growth in students on opportunity recognition, critical thinking, problem solving and future orientation. Over 90% of students in NFTE programs feel that the program gives them skills that will help them succeed in school and life.

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Throughout National Entrepreneurship Month, EverFi will be posting stories like these about the impact of entrepreneurship education under the hashtag #NEM2016.

If you’re interested in learning more about NFTE Venture, contact Jim@everfi.com

Laying the Groundwork for Financial Capability

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a comprehensive report outlining a new teaching framework for educators and organizations to utilize as they create programs around building up youth financial capability. Many of the recommendations included in the report are considered education best practice and have long been a part of EverFi’s curriculum development model. Statistics from a recent EverFi study reveal that 9 out of 10 parents talk to their kids about personal finances, but only 43% of those parents feel prepared to do so, and that 66% of millennials cannot answer basic financial wellness questions. As such, the CFPB’s recommendations represent a monumental opportunity to impact change.

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Download Our Guide to Understanding Family Financial Capability

At EverFi, we have always operated from the belief that our goal is to shape financial habits and norms while also building financial knowledge and decision-making skills. Together these goals have been two of the most important and longstanding levers used to influence financial capability. Our elementary, middle, and high school courses use many of CFPB’s recommended teaching techniques to introduce and reinforce these important concepts. From simulation to personalized learning and gamification, our courses strive to engage and empower students to become financially capable adults.

While the CFPB also stresses executive function as an important building block to help youth achieve financial capability, we have learned at EverFi that this is not often something that can be influenced by supplemental programming. It’s true that executive functioning is a prerequisite to success in financial well-being, as it is in every domain of life; however, it is best developed through supportive and nurturing environments and positive socialization. To truly build executive function requires year-round programming that is integrated into multiple areas of the curriculum and a child’s home environment.130603_cfpb_mahaskey_605

The CFPB’s report also highlights the central role that parents and caregivers play in developing youth financial knowledge, attitudes, and decision-making abilities. Through both direct instruction and modeling healthy financial behavior, parents and caregivers can help children develop responsible habits when it comes to spending and saving.

EverFi is committed to providing adult learners with foundational financial knowledge. Our adult course is built on the same core pedagogical foundation as our K-12 offering, but has been adapted to the more complex needs of an adult learner.  It provides adult learners with personalized and interactive learning to drive behavior change. Strengthening the financial knowledge of adults in turn creates home and community environments that help students build healthy financial attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. This report validates EverFi’s future plan to develop a program specifically designed to help parents or caregivers speak with their children about finances, thus improving the executive function deemed important for youth financial capability.

Now is a pivotal time for financial institutions, government organizations, and technology companies to partner and empower teachers, parents and caregivers with the knowledge they need to develop students of all ages into financially responsible adults. We at EverFi are thrilled to share the CFPB’s commitment to this goal and look forward to our continued partnering with organizations to help achieve its recommendations.

Zach Wagner, Vice President, K-12 Content and Product Development
Julia McCombs, Vice President, Adult Content and Product Development

Need Help Channeling Student Activism? – Ten Strategies for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The arrival of April also brings the arrival of Sexual Assault Awareness Month – a time in which many colleges and universities ramp up their prevention efforts with a vast array of programs geared towards this important issue. Students are often on the front lines of organizing events, generating dialogue, and demonstrating a personal commitment to raising awareness. While student involvement can be an incredible driving force around this issue, it’s important that campus administrators work collaboratively to guide and support their efforts. Here are ten tips to help you make the most of this collaboration.

1. Connect with Student Leaders

Reach out to activists, opinion leaders, and other influential students on campus. Determine who is engaged with different activities and events, and what their efforts entail. As necessary, introduce student leaders to one another to help them maximize their outcomes. Also consider sharing your aspirations regarding ending violence on your campus, engaging students as allies in your continued efforts throughout the year.

2. Support Student Leaders and Event Organizers

Play a hand in organizing events. Provide ways for students to partner with your office, share resources, and promote services. Consider hosting, sponsoring, or contributing to events—students will appreciate it. In turn, demonstrate your appreciation of student efforts. Positive recognition goes a long way!

3. Educate Student Leaders and Support Event Learning Outcomes

Train students on strategies for hosting a successful event, and best practices for prevention. Support students in considering educational outcomes and key messages for events that go beyond simply raising awareness. Enlist students to create materials to support intended outcomes.

4. Contribute (and Gather) Information

Offer talking points and statistics for students to utilize. Think about the messages that you want all students to be receiving, and share them with those students who will be helping with programs. Ensure that students know of available resources, are equipped with strategies for supporting survivors or overcoming resistance, and have a general understanding of university-wide efforts currently in place (or in the works). Create a feedback loop to incorporate new ideas and improve future efforts – this can be a fantastic learning process for students and professionals alike.

5. Focus on the Positives and Correct Misperceptions

Encourage framing messages around positive norms, emphasizing the promotion of healthy behaviors rather than focusing solely on preventing unhealthy ones. Misperceptions of social norms often exist among students, with a tendency to overestimate negative attitudes and behaviors of peers while underestimating the positive. Show students that they are part of a healthy majority on campus, and empower them to create the safe campus community they want to live and learn in.

6. Build Bridges and Connect the Dots

Demonstrate how events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month fit into the bigger picture of campus prevention. Find ways to connect these events with other prevention work happening on campus. You’ll likely have a captive audience – use it to generate momentum towards ongoing events throughout the year. This is also a great time to encourage other stakeholders to get involved.  Collaboration is key!

7. Be Present

Attend events being hosted by student groups. Bring materials and maintain visibility for your office at these events. Simply being there is an important demonstration of your accessibility, commitment, and support.

8. Be Mindful of Media

This is often a time during which media attention to the topic of sexual assault is heightened. Schools may be eager to showcase their efforts through student, local, or even national news, and this can be a great way of increasing awareness on a larger scale. That said, it is important to be respectful of survivors and their wishes. Events like “Take Back The Night” can be a profound experience for those who participate, and as such it is crucial that participants are informed if media will be present. If a media outlet has expressed an interest, connect with them beforehand to establish expectations and boundaries, inform students if there are events where media will be present, and consider writing an official statement that you can share to accurately convey your efforts.

9. Provide Follow-Up and Ongoing Support

Be aware that this can be a challenging and emotionally charged issue for students to take on, particularly if they have a personal connection to sexual assault. Provide opportunities for students to discuss their thoughts about the events, especially if efforts failed to meet their expectations. Validate any feelings that may arise from their involvement in programming, and remind them of available resources on campus should they need them.

10. Show Gratitude

Students quite often have a great deal on their plates. As such, when they volunteer their time and energy to raise awareness about this issue, they are likely doing so because of a true connection to it. Remind them that their involvement is valued and meaningful.  A hand-written thank you note, a follow-up email, or an end-of-month celebration for volunteers are all small gestures than can be incredibly meaningful.

EverFi at NASPA National 2016: Five Sessions on Preventing Campus Sexual Assault, Addressing Alcohol Abuse, and Promoting Wellness in Diverse Student Populations

We are proud to share that members of the EverFi Partner Education team will be presenting five sessions at the upcoming NASPA National Conference taking place in Indianapolis. From climate surveys to policy-driven windows of opportunity—and a whole host of unique student populations along the way—this year’s NASPA Conference highlights EverFi’s commitment to thought leadership and comprehensive prevention research.

If you will be attending NASPA, please check out the session information below. We hope you’ll consider attending one of our presentations! The EverFi team will also be available at booth #606 in the Exhibit Hall – we encourage you to stop by and connect with us, and check out some of the great materials we’ll have at our booth to support your work.

If you won’t be at NASPA this year, we’ll miss you. But please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re interested in finding out more about the cutting-edge prevention research we’re doing and how we can support you further in the important work you do to keep your campuses thriving.

***EVERFI SESSIONS AT THE NASPA NATIONAL 2016 CONFERENCE*** 

Addressing Mission-Critical Institutional Priorities Using Campus Climate Surveys

Day/Time: Monday, March 14 (8:30 AM – 9:20 AM)

Location:  Meeting Room 136 – Convention Center

Presenters: Rob Buelow (EverFi), Kelley Adams (MIT)

Session Description: Sexual assault is widely prevalent yet vastly underreported, leaving campuses with incomplete information about the scope and nature of occurrence. As a result, administrators face significant challenges in providing adequate and effective services to prevent and respond to sexual assault. These deficiencies create ripples that impact all facets of our institutions from student wellness to retention. Presenters will provide important context about the merits of climate surveys and their value for achieving mission-critical priorities.

The Need for Collecting College-Specific Health Data of LGBTQ Students

Day/Time: Monday, March 14 (1:15 PM – 2:05 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 136 – Convention Center

Presenters: Kimberley Timpf (EverFi), Sherri Darrow (University at Buffalo)

Session Description: A lack of data on the health of LGBTQ students means that colleges and universities are left to guess about protective and risk factors and health interventions for this population. The presenters will explore the implications of this challenge and discuss insights gathered as a result of adding sexual orientation and gender identity questions to national and campus-level surveys. Participants will be provided with resources to assist with the process of collecting similar data on their campus.

Shining a Light on Overlooked Student Populations for Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention

Day/Time: Monday, March 14 (2:30 PM – 3:20 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 138 – Convention Center

Presenters: Rob Buelow (EverFi), Holly Rider-Milkovich (University of Michigan)

Session Description: Presenters will explore primary and secondary research on the knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, experiences, and behaviors of often overlooked student populations, including graduate students, community and technical college students, and adult learners. The presenters will share experiential and data-driven insights on working with these students and describe the collaborative process of developing a unique approach to effectively provide prevention education to non-traditional student groups around sexual and relationship violence.

Addressing High-Risk Behaviors in Fraternities and Sororities: Evidence-based and Data-driven Prevention

Day/Time: Tuesday, March 15 (2:30 PM – 3:20 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 138 – Convention Center

Presenters: Erin McClintock (EverFi), Nicole Cavallaro (EverFi)

Session Description: The presenter will review challenges facing campus and headquarters staff in addressing high-risk behaviors among fraternity and sorority members, providing a framework for developing effective prevention efforts. It will review data from in-course GreekLifeEdu surveys, reflecting attitudes, behaviors, and experiences of approximately 65,000 – 70,000 new members in 2015. This session aims to empower staff with effective approaches, to engage students in solutions, and to raise the profile of healthy and responsible Greek-affiliated students.

Leveraging the Current Regulatory Landscape to Support Broader Campus Prevention Initiatives

Day/Time: Tuesday, March 15 (2:30 PM – 3:20 PM)

Location:  Meeting Room 136 – Convention Center

Presenters: Kimberley Timpf (EverFi), Rob Buelow (EverFi)

Session Description: Heightened attention to campus sexual violence has student affairs leaders asking, “How can finite resources be allocated to appropriately address a growing set of mandates and responsibilities around this critical issue without losing focus on broader wellness and safety challenges?” The presenters will discuss cross-cutting public health frameworks and mission-critical priorities that can be leveraged to inspire collaborative efforts and insure we stay focused on doing the best work possible to address these interconnected issues.