Knowledge is Power: Youth Entrepreneurship Education

Did you know that there are skills and knowledge that can transcend the average classroom?
This idea stimulates the economy and affects the lives of millions of people every day across the nation

What is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurs are fueled by innovation and defined as creators of small businesses. The number of small businesses is substantial, standing at 33.2 million in total and making up 99.9% of all businesses in the United States. Notably, they serve as a major player in the growth of the economy, generating nearly half of all workers in the country at 61.2 million in 2022.

It is unsurprising to assume that some will inevitably fail. In fact, only about 40% of small businesses will be successful due to many not having access to consistent capital. Because of this harsh reality, entrepreneurship education is proactive as it teaches not only the professional skills needed to start a business, but how to mitigate risks and maximize opportunities long-term to be sustainable.

Entrepreneurship education benefits start early:

Consider the additional advantages that come with teaching entrepreneurship before your typical college classroom, but instead as early as elementary school. Entrepreneur education equips learners with the confidence and knowledge to face uncertain professional situations that often do not have definite answers.

Through entrepreneurial education, students learn earlier on to think outside the box by identifying their strengths, applying their working knowledge towards their interests and collaborating with others who have differing expertise; all necessary skills to prepare them to enter the workforce. This may take the shape of practicing public speaking skills, creating professional networks, exploring secondary education and potential career paths, learning about racial and social barriers and many more possibilities.

As a result of this focus, learners are empowered to use their best judgment to find innovative strategies and solutions to overcome complex problems and start thinking about that next phase of life.

NEXT as a solution:

NEXT is a year-long program that presents an opportunity for students to spark their entrepreneurial journey through partnership with local middle schools and high schools in the greater Cincinnati region. While there, students can expect education centered in youth development that takes on the challenge to build purposeful learning because we understand that not every student begins at the same starting line.

The unfortunate truth is that 59.9% of students that reside in Kentucky and 48.4% of students in Ohio are economically disadvantaged. These realities are even more pronounced among students of color and students in rural communities who have less access to school funding, technology tools and educational opportunities.

NEXT recognizes this inequity and strives to provide agency for underserved youth that are fighting generational poverty and the opportunity gap by serving both urban and rural schools. To date, our program has impacted more than 700 students annually with 61% of students participating in the free/reduced-price lunch program and 51% of learners representing a racial minority.

There are so many avenues to explore with NEXT ranging from forming their own business ideas to solve community needs, presenting in pitch competitions to peers and local professionals and the potential to earn scholarship funds to pursue their post-secondary goals. When finishing up the program, students can expect to be introduced to professional networks, understand how to manage a LinkedIn profile, identify potential internships and career pathways, and best of all, newfound confidence to take on rising opportunities and challenges.

We recognize that starting your own business is not for every student, however there are endless kinds of benefits to being taught these skills that are transferable to all walks of life. This is evident in the 98.39% of students who reported that they felt the program positively impacted their overall academic performance and 89.5% felt more equipped to make academic and career decisions.

If you are interested in learning more about implementing this program into your own school, reach out to or begin registering here!

“Business Employment Dynamics.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 28 April 2016.
Kentucky Department of Education, School Report Card. 2021-2022.
Ohio Department of Education, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. Students Economically Disadvantaged in Ohio. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. 2020-2021.
Rauch, Jonathan, editor. “Entrepreneurship Education Comes of Age on Campus: The Challenges and Rewards of Bringing Entrepreneurship to Higher Education.” Kauffman Panel, July 2008, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2013.
“Small Business Statistics & Trends 2022.”Lawnstarter, Accessed 28 Oct. 2022.
Youth Entrepreneurship Curriculum Belongs in School. Uncharted Learning, Accessed 24 Oct. 202