A Conversation about Youth Entrepreneurship and Purpose

Conference Date: 
February 10, 2008

A public symposium presented by the Center on Adolescence, held in conjunction with its Youth Purpose Academic Advisory Panel meeting on February 7. Enthusiastic audience questions and comments reflected a strong interest in how entrepreneurship can help young people fulfill their potential and contribute to their communities.

The guest speakers were:

  • Richard M. Lerner, Tufts University and Advisory Panel member, provided some highlights of his research which asks how young people identify pathways to success and examines the importance of finding the best stage-context fit to maximize learning. Click here to see his PowerPoint presentation
  • Joseph Mittlemann, Brown University, described the course he teaches on Entrepreneurship and Good Work that challenges students to contribute to society through work that is personally important.
  • Gerald M. Richards, Bay Area Executive Director, National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), shared his experiences with at-risk high-school students who learn how academic skills can help them, their families and communities by turning their street smarts into business smarts. He introduced three young entrepreneurs who shared their personal stories.
  • Andrew Kutches took a NFTE business management class while at a correctional facility, guiding him to parlay his newly acquired skills in carpentry, painting, and building into Kutches Construction Company.
  • Eric Foster used the skills acquired at NFTE's BizCamp to found All High Sports, an internet hosting site allowing high school athletes to assist recruiters by conveniently posting their statistics and video highlight footage in one place. Athletes also utilize the site's extensive recruiter data bank.
  • Warda Ali, winner of the 2007 Merrill Lynch/NFTE Bay Area Regional Business Plan Competition and the Smith Barney/NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, turned an enhancement that extends the life of cricket bats from a service she was providing relatives and friends into a business when she launched Sure Shot Cricket Gear.