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Founded in New York City in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former entrepreneur turned high school math teacher in the South Bronx, NFTE began as a program to prevent dropouts and improve academic performance among students who were at risk of failing or quitting school.
Combining his business background with his desire to teach at-risk students, Steve discovered that when young people from low-income communities are given the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship, their innate "street smarts" can easily develop into "academic smarts" and "business smarts." Through entrepreneurship, young people discover that what they are learning in the classroom is relevant to the real world.
To date, NFTE has worked with more than 500,000 young people from low-income communities in programs across the U.S. and around the world.