Entrepreneurs Adopt Classes (District of Columbia)

  • Local Projects
  • 2003

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship has been showing high schoolers how to lift themselves out of poverty by creating their own businesses since 1987. But the organization added a new twist when its Washington, D.C., branch started getting real business owners involved. Successful entrepreneurs in the area were asked to adopt a class. This meant providing the $10,000 in funding it took to put a typical group of 20 to 30 students through a semester of training on how to start a businesses, including supplies, field trips, and cash prizes for actually launching an enterprise. It also required the business owners to provide mentorship—meeting with their adopted class to provide real-world perspective and help the students refine their business ideas. Twelve D.C.-area entrepreneurs took on the challenge in the program’s first year, critiquing business plans, coaching students on how to manage employees, and providing the kind of practical guidance that only people who have done something themselves can offer.

The innovation in D.C. was such a success that it was quickly expanded to other cities. NFTE has now helped more than 500,000 students from low-income communities understand the demands and satisfactions of business creation. (See 1987 entry on our companion list of philanthropic achievements encouraging Prosperity.)