26 May 2024
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Michael Holthouse
Founder, Prepared 4 Life
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Why every school in America should teach entrepreneurship
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A young man stands in front of a chalk board with a thought bubble above his head.

Jabious and Anthony Williams were living crammed with their mom and eight other family members in their aunt’s two-bedroom apartment in Anacostia, a violent Southeast Washington, D.C., neighborhood. Every day the boys walked miles to the nearest Exxon station to pump gas for tips. “Typically, we would earn thirty to fifty dollars a day to help support my mom,” says Jabious Williams. 

One day, the Williams brothers met Mena Lofland, a caring business teacher at Suitland High School in Maryland. She got Anthony and Jabious into her entrepreneurship class, which was sponsored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). The boys had developed independence, grit, salesmanship and hard-won street smarts. As a result, both showed great aptitude for entrepreneurship. 

The Williams brothers started a hip-hop clothing line with support from Lofland and two local mentors—Phil McNeil, managing partner of Farragut Capital Partners, and Patty Alper, a dedicated volunteer, philanthropist and former entrepreneur. 

Today, Jabious is a scholarship graduate student at Southeastern University and operates Jabious Bam Williams Art & Photography Company. Anthony heads a youth-mentorship program. They recently gave their mom $5,000 to use as a down payment on a house. “If it weren’t for the NFTE classes and the support of our teachers and mentors, we would have likely dropped out of school,” Jabious says. 

As an educator of at-risk youth for over thirty years, and NFTE’s founder, I’ve seen only one thing consistently bring children raised in poverty into the middle class: entrepreneurship education. 

(MORE: How Entrepreneurship Can Fix Young America) 

I’ve personally witnessed thousands of young people discover their potential through our owner-entrepreneurship courses. I’ve watched with pride as many of our 450,000-plus alumni have successfully moved into the middle class—as lifetime entrepreneurs or as educated, productive workers with good jobs. 

I’ve seen apathetic kids whose families have been on welfare for generations get excited about school and their futures. They discover that they can participate in our economy and earn money. They quickly realize that to do so, they must to learn to read, write and do math. 

I’ve also seen how owning even the simplest small business fills a teen with pride. 

Read the full article here.

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