Entrepreneurship training is seen as a vital part of kids' schooling. Whether it's through after-school programs, summer camps, competitions, or in-class activities, advocates believe that learning the ins and outs of business-building can help develop some important real-world skills.
Here are some groups that provide this type of training:
- Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE): A longstanding education organization that helps empower at-risk youth through teaching entrepreneurship in class, after school, and during the summer in 11 regions across the country and with partnerships across the world. Although NFTE has been around since 1987, naturally programming has shifted to accommodate what business smarts mean in 2011 by, for instance, developing curricula called "Exploring Careers for the 21st Century" and teaching skills like how to effectively use Twitter for marketing and branding purposes.
- TiE Young Entrepreneurs: A global program with local branches, TiE (Talent, Ideas, and Enterprise) brings seasoned entrepreneurs to K-12 classrooms to teach a 3-month business curriculum that ends with a business plan competition. The program hits nine cities, including Boston, Seattle, London, New Delhi, and Austin, Texas. Each local business plan competition sends student winners to the TiE global competition for a chance at a $25,000 prize.
- Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE): An international community of teenage entrepreneurs that links kids with mentors, business consultants, and civic leaders through extensive regional and global tournaments -- all with an emphasis on social entrepreneurship and environmental stewardship. Teenagers start either a socially responsible business or social enterprise business, get it underway, and enter it in a series of competitions that ends with the "SAGE World Cup."
For parents, instructors, or highly driven students interested in accessing resources, not entire programs -- some free, some with a fee -- they're out there, too. Mashable.com has great roundup of ways entrepreneurs can make the most of Twitter, for instance. BizKids is a Web site and television show where kids teach other kids about business and money; parents and teachers can access family activities and lesson plans, while kids can watch episodes and play games. Global Entrepreneurship Week is an international network of changemakers and entrepreneurs that connects people, ideas, student-specific initiatives, and quick tips, like "How to Become an Entrepreneur in 10 Days"). And a learning tool available for purchase called The Little Green Money Machine (which just won a Best Classic Toy Award) provides fun, interactive ways for kids of all ages to design business plans, set goals, and get a handle on their financial literacy skills.