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