New Report: Youth Entrepreneurship in America

Posted by on November 17, 2008


The world economy is changing rapidly, and this brings enormous challenges and opportunities for educating America’s youth. With the right portfolio of skills, especially in science and math, as well as the development of creativity, young Americans can become the world’s next generation of enterprising and innovative business people.  But we have not yet created an educational environment that fully develops these critical skills in young people.  As a result, America’s youth–especially the growing numbers of high school dropouts–lose the opportunity to enjoy successful and rewarding careers, and our nation loses the opportunity to lead in an increasingly competitive world.

We can change this course.  Lacking in our youth is an entrepreneurial mindset — a critical mix of success-oriented attitudes of initiative, intelligent risk-taking, collaboration, and opportunity recognition skills. With the pace of innovation, many of the jobs our children will hold don’t even exist yet. Not only will the traditional skills of reading, writing, and math be needed to thrive in this economy, but also technological savvy and self-direction. More than ever, we need to educate students to be dynamic, lifelong learners.

We believe that expanding the availability of youth entrepreneurship education resources should be a critical part of this solution. Through the process of starting their own ventures, young minds are engaged, talent is explored, and youth, particularly at risk youth, become empowered.

Engage young minds in entrepreneurship: Every 29 seconds, another student drops out of school. Research shows that the dominate cause for student drop out is a failure to interest students in the curriculum. Entrepreneurship programs have a proven track record of keeping children in school.

Explore young talent and creativity. The goal of the Aspen Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group is to ensure that each graduate from a high school that serves in a low-income community has educational opportunities to explore his or her entrepreneurial potential. (

Empower youth to take ownership in their communities and their lives. More than ever, we need to educate students that they should –and can be– continual learners in dynamic environments. Entrepreneurship education not only teaches students about the world, but teaches students about themselves. This is empowerment at its most basic level.…..So what can you do?

I’m a local policy maker:
·          Introduce entrepreneurship training in all schools, with special emphasis on those with large populations of low-income youth.

·          Increase funding to support teacher training, curriculum and professional development, and to evaluate program design and outcomes.

·          Develop strong partnerships between schools, businesses, and other community organizations

I’m a state-level policy maker:
·          Adopt statewide standards for youth Entrepreneurship Education.

·          Create formal Entrepreneurship Education partnerships between primary and secondary schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions.

·          Create a State Advocate or State Advisory Council for Entrepreneurship Education

I’m a federal level policy maker:
·          Revise existing education statutes, such as the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Higher Education Act, and Workforce Investment Act to include entrepreneurship skills as a desired competency in educational standards.

·           Consider adding Entrepreneurial Literacy to the President’s Council on Financial Literacy.

·          Expand funding for youth entrepreneurship in key programs operated by the Department of Labor, the Small Business Administration, and other appropriate agencies.

·          Create a federal Office of Entrepreneurship Education and provide it with resources to share best practices in the field and also serve as a nationwide advocate for youth entrepreneurship.

I’m a business leader:
·          Be a role model and speak to aspiring youth entrepreneurs in your community.

·          Partner with local youth entrepreneurship programs with proven track records.  Help them scale in order to play a part in the youth entrepreneurship education process.

·          Donate your time and advice to schools in your community so young people have a clear vision of the success that stems from perseverance and an entrepreneurial mindset.

While this objective sounds simple, achieving it will require extensive cooperation at all levels of government and key involvement from the private sector. Our recommendations for policymakers will be outlined in the full report that launches November 18th during Global Entrepreneurship Week and will be available at

IF YOU WOULD LIKE A PDF OF THE REPORT on 11-19,  CONTACT US: or  (202) 215-6383 or (212) 232-3333 x 331.

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