Camp Director, Andrew Wakelee, a NFTE certified entrepreneurship teacher with campers Dextina Nebo, Jennifer White and Jeannette Jones
The Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nationwide nonprofit established in 1987, works to inspire young people to pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses, and succeed in life. Philadelphia’s NFTE branch was established in 2007, and in the past seven years has served over 4,000 middle and high school students, according to NFTE Philadelphia Executive Director Sylvia Watts McKinney.
Philadelphia has about 30 certified teachers located throughout the region, including Camden, NJ and Newark, DE, who teach entrepreneurship in their classrooms at schools where at least 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches. The NFTE program is run at both charter and public schools in Philadelphia.
“We support these teachers who will educate the students on how to open a business, to run that business, manage the business and to sell that business,” McKinney said.
This past July, Philadelphia NFTE held a Launch It Youth Biz Camp, an extension of their main programming in schools, to teach students about business: what a business is, what entrepreneurship is, and how you can grow a business.
NFTE’s Biz Camp programs are intensive, one to two week day camps for students ages 13-18. While many of NFTE’s biz camps focus on students who haven’t participated in a NFTE program, Philadelphia’s programs were designed to extend the experience of those who had already participated in a program during the school year. The program focused on how students can launch their own business.
The camp began on July 7 with a visit to Union Packaging Company with CEO Michael Pearson. Pearson spoke to the youth about his background, why he owns a manufacturing company, why he is an investor, and more importantly, why he wants to see them succeed.
“It was very good to meet with him and meet with the staff,” said McKinney, adding that the staff also discussed the elements of a successful team.
Later in the week, they learned about other valuable business skills — accounting, paperwork involved in starting a business, Intellectual Property, including Patents and Copyrights, as well as how to build a cost-effective website and mobile app, a necessity in starting a business today.
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The camp wrapped up with a case study competition where teams of students had to act as case consultants who were advising a struggling school district, like Philadelphia’s school district, on how to improve the quality of education and the bottom line.
The end goal is to give students a feel for what going to school for entrepreneurship or business is really like.
“We try to give them a feel for what it’s like to be in business school,” McKinney said.
Photo courtesy of NFTE Philadelphia.-30-
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