Julie Kantor of NFTE on Dare to Dream Gala

Julie Kantor of NFTE on Dare to Dream Gala - top government contractors - best government contracting event

JKphotoThe Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship is proud to be celebrating their 15th year anniversary working in partnership with local schools and having served over 21,000 local youth since 1994 in the Washington D.C. area. Julie Kantor is the national Vice President of NFTE and talked to us about the up and coming Dare To Dream Gala and more about the organization in general.

ExecutiveBiz: Tell us about the mission of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

Kantor: “Not every young person wants to work for a big business so we need a systemic approach to teach them entrepreneurship. NFTE has the best program in the country.”- The Honorable Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

“The President should also vow to bring The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, or NFTE, to every low-income neighborhood in America.” -Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, January 2010

We are pleased that public support of entrepreneurship education is growing at a time when the need for programs like NFTE, that engage students in learning and empower them to own their futures, continues to grow.

Founded in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former business owner and New York City public high school teacher, the mission of NFTE is to provide entrepreneurship education programs to youth (ages 11-18) from low-income communities.  Our vision is that every young person will find a pathway to prosperity.  NFTE uses entrepreneurship as a vehicle to engage students in school using a highly experiential and academic curriculum that demonstrates to them the relevance of basic skills and subjects, such as reading, writing and math, and connects these skills to the possible real world outcome of owning their own business.

Since 1987 NFTE has:

*            Served over 280,000 low-income youth around the world

*            Trained more than 5,000 teachers and youth professionals

*            11 domestic program offices

*            Active programs in 21 U.S. states and 11 other countries

This is an evening full of passion, commitment, and hope where you will see students Dare to Dream! – Julie Kantor

ExecutiveBiz: What will the Dare to Dream Gala include? Tell us about some of the highlights of the evening.

Kantor: Get ready to pull out your black suit, sunglasses and memory vaporizers. April 28th is going to be a great night for entrepreneurship and youth!

NFTE’s 13th Annual Dare to Dream Gala is being held at the Marriott Wardman Park. This year’s theme is “Making it in Business,” (MIB). In addition to networking with top entrepreneurs and 500+ business leaders in the Washington area, you will have the opportunity to purchase products and services from 40 youth-owned businesses and discuss their vision for success.

At the Gala dinner, we will be honoring our top regional teachers and youth entrepreneurs of the year. In addition our outstanding 2010 Honorees are Mike Chasen, CEO of Blackboard; Patty Alper, Alper Family Foundation/ Alper Portfolio Group; and The Honorable Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education.

There will also be a surprise guest — world renown entrepreneur — who will share his vision about how overcame huge obstacles and he made it to the top!! His secrets to his success and personal story will captivate the audience and hopefully motivate our youth to think big and shoot for the stars!!!

This is an evening full of passion, commitment, and hope where you will see students Dare to Dream!

ExecutiveBiz: Why do you choose to be involved with NFTE personally?

Kantor: Do you have 3 hours? (smile) I met the founder when I was working for Inc. Magazine.  He shared his story that started out of a mugging incident and it changed my life.  My father escaped from Hungary to America for opportunity and the ‘American Dream,’ and I was stunned to learn that most youth in inner cities don’t realize that they can own a business and that 1:3 American youth are dropping out of school.  One of the main reasons is boredom and I think NFTE is an amazing ‘anti-boredom,’ drop-out prevention program and that every youth in the Washington region, especially from low-income communities should learn the fundamental LIFESKILL of entrepreneurship.  IT”S TIME!

I wrote a book on my pathway to social entrepreneurship and building NFTE in Washington, DC since 1995 —

I SAID YES! Real Life Stories of Teachers, Students and Leaders Saying YES! to Entrepreneurship in America’s Schools by Julie Silard Kantor

ExecutiveBiz: What are some of the goals of this years Gala?

Kantor: Our goal for Dare to Dream is to raise $500,000 so we can serve 1000 youth in the upcoming school year and train 15 more teachers.  We also want to get key education, business and congressional leaders there so that we can really introduce a cause that has met it’s time!  We really need to scale this movement and there are barriers to teaching business in our schools that need to come down!

At the gala we plan to launch the Washington Youth Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund.  $750 puts one more student through NFTE’s ‘mini-MBA’ 80 hour program model.

The fundamental goals of NFTE’s programs in Washington Region are to:

* Engage youth in school by teaching math, reading, writing, and communication within the motivating context of starting and operating a small business.

* Teach young people about the market economy and how ownership can lead to responsible wealth creation.

* Encourage an entrepreneurial mindset so they can succeed whether they pursue higher education, enter the workforce, or become entrepreneurs.

* Make young people financially literate and better prepared to save and invest to meet their life goals.

* Demonstrate outcomes of entrepreneurship education through research and evaluation.

Our local reach:

* NFTE-Greater Washington is celebrating our 15th year anniversary working in partnership with local schools this year

* We will serve 800 local youth at 16 schools during academic year 2009-2010 and over 1000 in 2010-2011

* We will provide ongoing professional development and site support to 17 active NFTE teachers this year

* We have served over 21,000 youth since 1994 (DC, MD, VA)

ExecutiveBiz: Why should ExecutiveBiz readers attend this years Gala?

Kantor: ExecutiveBiz readers are great entrepreneurs and this is an opportunity to come together around a cause that has really met it’s time and invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs.  It will be a high impact, meaningful and FUN event with great networking.

Tom Friedman recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that stated: “The President should also vow to bring The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, or NFTE, to every low-income neighborhood in America.”

-Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, January 2010

We really need the entrepreneurial leaders behind NFTE and the youth we serve to build this crucial movement locally and nationally and internationally.  One of our students Michelle Araujo said it best and her words compel us and haunt us , “My Dream is Not To Die in Poverty,But to Have Poverty Die in Me.”

This is change that the business community can get behind– making the Washington Region the top place in the country for young entrepreneurs and going younger to build the entrepreneurial pipeline from Lemonade Stand to NFTE to ExecutiveBiz and EO and YPO and CEO and more!

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