Teaching youth to build businesses
A NFTE-UK case study

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Page 2: Vision

NFTE’s vision is to foster economic self sufficiency among children/teens in need worldwide. Its mission is to provide excellent curriculum, teacher certification and alumni/graduate support.  Educational research shows people learn best when introduced to new ideas in a meaningful context. If they can see the value of what they are learning and relate it to their own interests, their motivation is far greater.

The driving force behind the US development of NFTE was Steve Mariotti. With experience of business and working with young people, he identified entrepreneurship as an opportunity to capture the imaginations of deprived young people. Steve studied economics before working at Ford Motor Company but found working for a large company restrictive and set up his own successful import/export business. During this period Steve had a life changing experience. He was mugged by teenagers and as he had very little money on him their actions were largely futile. He felt their energies could be better spent running their own legitimate business thus generating much higher returns without resorting to violence or drugs.

To understand their problems he became an inner city school teacher. He was dismayed to discover that young people had a negative attitude to maths, reading and communication, the very skills they needed for successful careers. Steve started teaching youngsters about running a business. They were excited by enterprise and this helped them to develop their all-round educational skills. Working with other enthusiasts, Steve founded NFTE in 1987. The organisation spread rapidly across the US, supported by major companies, such as Microsoft and Goldman Sachs. They could see the importance of helping everyone to contribute as valued members of an "inclusive society".

Businesses can only be really successful in communities that value all of their people. Organisations have a responsibility to improve the communities around them, so quality companies try to promote a caring society.  The Brenninkmeyer family who have a number of different business interests throughout the world and who support many worthwhile charitable organisations typify this approach.

Clemens and August Brenninkmeyer were two brothers, who in their early 20's opened the first C&A store in Holland in 1841. Today, the global retail company is still owned and operated by the family, with its behaviour based on family values. This explains the company’s enthusiasm for initiatives such as NFTE-UK that are aimed at helping the disadvantaged in society. The Brenninkmeyer Family quickly saw the value of NFTE in the US and did not hesitate to become a sponsor. Stephen Brenninkmeyer became the first Chairman of the NFTE Trustees in the UK to endorse their support.

NFTE-UK | Teaching youth to build businesses