Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Receives $4.5 Million Grant from the Citi Foundation as Part of Pathways to Progress Global Expansion

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Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and Citi Foundation's two-year collaboration will bring entrepreneurial skills to thousands of young people across several cities in the United States

Innovative, hands-on entrepreneurship training for young people will be increasingly available across the United States through an expanded two-year collaboration between the Citi Foundation and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) Make Your Job program.

Make Your Job is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative to prepare urban youth for today’s competitive job market.

In February 2017 Citi announced a global expansion of the Pathways to Progress initiative led by a Citi Foundation investment of $100 million to connect 500,000 young people, ages 16–24, to training and jobs over the next three years. This is the largest philanthropic commitment in the Citi Foundation’s history. Pathways to Progress launched in 2014 with a $50 million effort that helped more than 100,000 young people across 10 U.S. cities become career-ready through first jobs, internships, and leadership and entrepreneurship training.

NFTE will offer an expanded suite of entrepreneurship training programs activating the entrepreneurial mindset in young people across the United States. The Make Your Job program serves New York City, Newark, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Boston, and includes:

Owning Your Future – a full credit, award-winning in-school program that deeply engages students in developing their entrepreneurial mindset and the full suite of startup skills needed to effectively compete in the 21st economy. Each year of the collaboration, the Citi Foundation will adopt 2 classes in the 10 markets served, and Citi employees will serve as coaches and judges in those classes.

BizCamps® – a condensed version of NFTE’s award-winning Owning Your Future curriculum, teaching the entrepreneurial mindset alongside startup skills. One camp will be offered each summer in all 10 cities.

Startup Summer – a business accelerator program which will be open to young people who have already completed NFTE’s core entrepreneurship program either in their classroom or through a BizCamp®. Participants are led through all aspects of creating their business and given seed capital to start operations. Startup Summer also acts as a summer job for the participants, as they are paid to participate. The program will serve young people New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles.

NFTE Venture – an immersive, online experience where students design and virtually launch their own food truck. Created in partnership with the leading education technology company, Everfi, NFTE Venture will introduce new schools and students to entrepreneurship and help NFTE to achieve its strategic plan goal of reaching 200,000 youth annually by school-year 2022.

The grant also supports the Entrepreneurship Fellows program, a paid summer leadership development and internship program for NFTE alumni; and NFTE’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series, a series of student business plan competitions across the country that culminates in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in October in New York City.

The Pathways to Progress expansion also includes a commitment to have 10,000 Citi employees volunteer to serve as mentors, coaches and role models to young people and support their career progress. Citi volunteers will be vital to the success of all Make Your Job programs.

“NFTE is proud to be part of Pathways to Progress and to address many of the challenges facing youth found by the Citi Foundation’s research,” says Shawn Osborne, NFTE’s President and CEO. “NFTE activates the entrepreneurial mindset in youth, allowing them to better navigate the inevitable ups and downs of our economy. Combined with the vast professional network that is the NFTE community, our students gain access to the types of mentors and opportunities they need to advance their aspirations. And with our own research finding that 25% of NFTE alumni start a business at some point in their life and employ others, the economic value of our work is clearly evident.”

“To compete in today’s competitive job market young people need diverse skillsets, professional networks, and the confidence to help them reach their career goals. The entrepreneurial mindset helps to deliver these opportunities and attributes,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “We are pleased to renew our support for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, as part of our new Pathways to Progress commitment and continue to inspire and equip young aspiring entrepreneurs across the United States.”

In conjunction with the expanded Pathways to Progress investment, the Citi Foundation has also released the results of a survey of young people that will help inform the focus of its programs and partnerships, including through entrepreneurship training. The study, conducted by Ipsos, found that despite political, economic, and social upheaval, young people around the world are optimistic about their career prospects, but face the reality of limited skills and opportunities.

  • Youth have the entrepreneurial spirit but are not starting businesses. Nearly 70% of young people surveyed aspire to be entrepreneurs, yet only 6% are actual entrepreneurs at present.
  • 78% of young people believe internships/apprenticeships are critical for success; however 60% say there aren’t enough of these opportunities.
  • Despite uncertainty and change across the globe, 70% of young people are optimistic about their career prospects. Optimism is even higher in cities in developing markets and the fact remains that worldwide 71 million young people are looking for work.
  • More often than not there is a mismatch in the jobs youth have and what they want to do. Globally, 55% of employed young people are currently working in an industry that they don’t aspire to work in. To find new opportunities, young people are craving on-the-job experience and professional and social connections.

Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

About Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is an international nonprofit that activates the entrepreneurial mindset in young people and builds their knowledge about business startup. Students acquire the entrepreneurial mindset (e.g., innovation, self-reliance, comfort with risk), alongside business, STEM, and presentation skills—equipping them to drive their best futures in the 21st Century. NFTE focuses its work on under-resourced communities, with programs in 23 locations in 9 countries.

To learn more, visit, like NFTE on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at @NFTE.

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Andrea Kotuk
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