Entrepreneurs Put Capital to Work for Economic Growth

It doesn’t matter what country, society or region an entrepreneur operates within.  They will put capital to work to help stimulate the economy.  As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week the anchors at Gangplank decided to embark on a social experiment.  We realized that we are lucky to live a part of the world where access to capital is fairly easy found, to pursue our ideas.  We understand that is not the case across the globe.

We decided to use KIVA to create the Global Entrepreneurship Week Challenge.  Our first target was Jones Matagaro Nyamasege from Kenya.  He was looking for $1,000.  Our mission was to get him fully funded and get the Gangplank KIVA team to get $2000 into the system.  Amazingly within the first 24 hours we already had Jones fully funded.  We started with a second selection, Noel Pandero from the Philippines.  He was funded within a day.  We are now looking to fund Ruben Fernando from Bolivia.  Help us out and join the challenge!

Entrepreneurship Through Bureaucracy

Jose Diaz had posted on Twitter that NTFE was teaching entrepreneurship to youth and was disappointed that Phoenix didn’t have an office.  This sounded like something that might fit nicely with Gangplank Jr, so I decided to take a look.

From the NTFE Web Site:
The NFTE curriculum has editions for high school, middle school, and advanced students (adults 18-30). Teacher training by NFTE is required to become a Certified Entrepreneurship Teacher (CET) and be part of a NFTE program.

This just seems wrong to me.  Entrepreneurship isn’t something that can be taught by simply by a curriculum.  Why do you think that schools are so bad it? It is vital to learn by experience and exploration.  Simply put the only way to learn to be an entrepreneur is through failure.  Lots and lots of failure.  A curriculum suggests some formula that if followed brings success.  I call bullshit.

Don’t even get me started on the “certification” crap.  Seriously.  Isn’t the best certification, success/failure in actually starting a business?  In order to teach on this subject you have to have been there and done it.  An entrepreneur will encounter things daily that no book or course ware can prepare them for.  They need the guidance, empathy and wisdom from someone that has been there.

Even though I was a bit turned off by this, I figured I would see what was necessary for an organization to become an NTFE Licensed Partner.

Licensed Partner Qualifications
To become a NFTE Licensed Partner, an organization must meet the following requirements:

  • Complementary Mission: Must work with youth from low-income communities.
  • Structure: Must be a registered and audited 501(c)(3) or government organization.
  • Financial Resources: Must demonstrate and allocate financial resources necessary to implement a two-year NFTE program ($500,000 Equity minimum).
  • Staff: Must have a at least one dedicated coordinator for the NFTE program.
  • Support: Must submit a minimum of five letters of support from principals who agree to implement NFTE programs in their schools.
  • Program Launch: Must be willing to launch a first year program in five Title 1 schools with a minimum of 10 teachers in total

So much for starting small.  Nothing like requiring $500,000 and 10 teachers to get the ball moving.  So much for helping the kids.  I suspect that the majority of the $500,000 goes towards “certifying” the teachers and “purchasing” the curriculum.  Of course in doing so you will get to the use the NTFE’s spiffy logo.  Get the honor of paying for more training.  Get invited to display your top teacher and student at the annual national event (at your expense).  Free tickets to the annual gala.  Reserved slot at the annual retreat (at your expense).

I left their site completely flabbergasted.  I am sure that they touch the lives of a lot of disadvantaged youth and that they make a difference.  I don’t want to take that away from them.  However, this feels like a university ponzi scheme that reeks of bureaucracy and flies in the face of everything I tend to think entrepreneurship stands for.  Where is the creativity?  The innovation?  The exploration? The passion?

In a nutshell, it reminds why I am so passionate about Gangplank JR.