Tomorrow’s Business Leaders

Do you know a high school or college student who wants to start a business? Does our education system give that young woman or
man an opportunity to learn what it takes to start and run a business?

by Jack Faris NFIB

Chances are you answered yes to the first question. Unfortunately, the answer to the second is no.

A Gallup survey in the mid-90s, conducted for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, found that seven out of 10 high school
students wanted to start their own business. But nine out of 10 thought their knowledge of entrepreneurship was poor to fair and they
answered only 44 percent of the questions on entrepreneurship correctly.

The vast majority of students polled for the Kauffman Foundation research said they were taught only "a little about" or "practically nothing about" how the
economy works. Just 27 percent said they had taken a business or entrepreneurship course in high school.

Of course, many young people learn about entrepreneurship and small business firsthand–working in a family business. I learned the importance of
customer service at an early age working alongside my father at his Shell station.

Small business is the first employer for hundreds of thousands of teenagers every year. And the programs of groups such as Junior Achievement and
Students in Free Enterprise are making significant contributions to the entrepreneurial knowledge of our young people.

America’s high school and college students are the pool from which tomorrow’s business owners will emerge–the future Henry Fords, Bill Gates and Sam
Waltons. Some will make it without formal courses in business, but how many more might need that extra bit of knowledge to achieve the dream of owning
their own business?

That is why The NFIB Education Foundation has embarked on a mission to raise awareness among the nation’s youth of the critical role that private
enterprise and entrepreneurship play in the building of America and to help students interested in small business and entrepreneurial careers further their

The Foundation will launch four new programs this year: Free Enterprise Scholars, providing $1,000 scholarships to young people (nominated by NFIB
members) who have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and initiative; a summer internship program focusing on the link between free enterprise and
government–and the importance of small business advocacy; teacher appreciation awards to recognize those teachers who encourage students to follow
their entrepreneurial dreams and an entrepreneurs-in-the-classroom program giving college students opportunities to hear from NFIB members their stories
of the risks and rewards of free enterprise.

For the continued growth and prosperity of America, we must encourage those young men and women who want to own a business. The NFIB Education
Foundation will do that. You and your fellow NFIB members will be key to its success.

For more on these programs, contact Susan Ridge, executive director of the NFIB Education Foundation, at [email protected], or 1-800-552-6342, ext.

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