US Study of the NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship Programme proves positive outcomes and creation of future prosperity

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Foróige September 10, 2013

Foróige runs the youth entrepreneurship programme NFTE in Ireland in schools and communities. Foróige welcome this new study which demonstrates the impact of this same programme in the US. This study of NFTE Alumni in the US has been carried out by Vanessa E. Beary, a Presidential Scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Fulbright Fellow. Vanessa has a special interest in Entrepreneurship Education in developing countries with large youth populations.

This study examines the impact of NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) entrepreneurship education programmes on 1,282 of US alumni. It examines the effects of an entrepreneurship education programme on the academic achievement and professional success of NFTE alumni. The study also examines the impact of a NFTE entrepreneurship education programme on students’ entrepreneurial attitudes such as their perceived desirability of becoming an entrepreneur and their sense of self-efficacy. This study uses data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) in the US, the National Center for Education Statistics, and other relevant studies for points of comparison.

NFTE Alumni Key Findings

89% of NFTE Alumni over the age of 18 have graduated from high school. The dropout rate for NFTE alumni is less than the national average for school dropouts. Half of NFTE alumni in this survey graduated with a STEM-related degree.

Of these graduates, 47% were African American. In 2009, only 7% of STEM degrees were awarded to African Americans nationally. NFTE African-American college graduates with a STEM degree earned approximately 25% more than their NFTE peers who do not hold a college degree. STEM degrees are associated with higher future earnings; a recent study confirmed that minority students with a STEM degree earn at least 25%—and up to 50%—more than their peers with humanities degrees (Balsone, 2012).

88% of NFTE alumni between the ages of 25–40 with a high school diploma are employed. In comparison, 69% of individuals between the ages of 25–40 with a high school diploma are employed nationally in the US (CPS 2012).

The average annual income of NFTE graduates over the age of 25 with a minimum of a high school diploma is $38,000 USD per year. The comparison to the national annual income of $24,000 USD over the age of 25 favours NFTE graduates (CPS, 2011). On average, NFTE male alumni over the age of 25 with a minimum of a high school diploma make $43,000 a year. This compares favourably to the national average of $30,600 for the same population (CPS, 2011).

On average, NFTE female alumnae over the age of 25 with a minimum of a high school diploma make $34,000 a year. This compares favourably to the national average of $18,000 for the same population (CPS, 2011).

The average income for male NFTE alumni between the ages of 25–34 is $44,000 USD. The comparison to the national annual income of $32,500 USD for males in the same age group favours NFTE alumni (CPS, 2011).

The average income for female NFTE alumni between the ages of 25–34 is $32,200 USD. The comparison to the national annual income of $25,700 USD for females in the same age group favours NFTE alumni.

The average annual income of self-employed NFTE graduates over the age of who have a minimum of a high school diploma is $44,000 USD. This average climbs to $49,000 USD for individuals over the age of 30.

Self-Employment

Among NFTE alumni, one out of every five employed individuals is self-employed. NFTE alumni outperform the U.S. self-employment rate where one out of every nine employed individuals is self-employed (Hipple, 2010).

Start-Up Activities

NFTE alumni participated in an average of five start-up activities within the past year. For comparison, a group of university science and engineering students who took an entrepreneurship education programme participated in an average of three start-up activities.

Entrepreneurial Attitudes

On a seven-point scale, the average rating given by NFTE alumni for desirability of becoming an entrepreneur is 4.7, meaning the average NFTE alum responded that they agree that starting a business is attractive. For sake of comparison, a group of German university students enrolled at a
school of business gave an average rating of 4.4 on a similar construct for perceived desirability (Von Graevenitz et al., 2010).

On a seven-point scale, the average rating given by NFTE alumni for their sense of self-efficacy is 4.5, meaning the average NFTE alum responded that they agree that they are capable of starting a business. For sake of comparison, a group of university students enrolled in science and
engineering programmes who were also enrolled in an EEP scored an average of 4.2 for on the same construct for perceived behavioural control (Souitaris, 2007).