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Individual youth entrepreneurship provides an opportunity for a student to establish a business from the initial startup phase through full operation while receiving guidance from a teacher at the school.  This includes beginning with an initial business idea, developing a business plan, actual start up and complete ownership. This activity may be a project for a class or a student organization. The activity is considered a paid experience because the student who actually starts a business will be receiving income from the sale of a product or providing a service. Students assume the risks of creating the entrepreneurial venture in expectation of gaining a profit or further knowledge and skills necessary for success as an entrepreneur.

It represents a uniquely comprehensive method for preparing someone to understand all aspects of running a business and learning about ‘being their own boss.’ Student entrepreneurship experiences may also take the form of school-based businesses that students help to set up and run.

Curricula that guides students through the process of creating business plans, working with local entrepreneurs and other community resources to plan and run enterprises, or any combination of these activities is vital to success. Entrepreneurship may be undertaken on or off the school site, but should be part of the school’s course work in order to be considered for academic credit.


  • Provides opportunities for youth to start and operate enterprises of appropriate size and scope, in which they are personally invested in a manner that is significant to them.
  • Provides an opportunity for students to learn about and utilize community resources
  • Offers opportunities to apply academic knowledge such as accounting, record keeping, and economics.
  • Supports the development of career readiness skills
  • Develops management and critical thinking skills that can be applied throughout life in both employment and self-employment (entrepreneurship) including, but not limited to:
    • Product development
    • Marketing
    • Financing
    • Recordkeeping
    • Budgeting
    • Communication (verbal, non-verbal, written)
    • Customer service
    • Decision making
    • Locating and utilizing resources
    • Complying with government regulations
  • Affords the opportunity to earn money and make connections to the local and area business community
  • Reinforces the concept that successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks based on demographic research and relevant information.
  • Requires youth to develop a plan for a business that addresses its financial, marketing and operational aspects.
  • Utilizes an action-oriented curriculum that provides age-appropriate experiential learning opportunities for which program leaders/instructors operate as coaches or facilitators.
  • Enhances creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills
  • Increased awareness of the entrepreneur’s role in the economy
  • Expanded awareness of social responsibility and entrepreneurs’ contribution to society and local, state and national economic vitality

Steps in Planning and Implementing an Entrepreneurship Program

  • Determine the purpose of the entrepreneurship program, examples may be:
    • A part of the subject matter of a specific CTE course;
    • A culminating project for a program of study; or
    • An after-school or summer project for school credit.
  • Determine how the instruction will be delivered in the areas of product development, marketing, advertising, financing, record keeping, budgeting, communication, customer service, decision making, locating and utilizing resources and complying with laws and regulations.
  • Assist students in developing a business plan.
  • Determine what resources will be needed to assist students.
  • Develop an agreement between the student, parents, CTE instructor and school that includes:
    • Description of the entrepreneurship project/business venture
    • List of skills to be developed through the entrepreneurial experience
    • List of the components of the business plan to be created by the student including:
      • Product/service to be provided
      • Proposed budget, including projected income and expenses
      • Plans for financing the venture
      • Marketing plan for the venture
  • Develop an instrument or procedures for evaluating student learning and performance

Success Factors

  • Provide a curriculum that is organized around the five entrepreneurial processes:  Discovery, Concept Development, Resourcing, Actualization, and Harvesting.
  • Use entrepreneurship as the real-world context to demonstrate the importance of academic skills, including math science, communications, digital skills, technology, geography, history, and more.
  • Portray the relationship between risk and reward in the entrepreneurial process as it operates in the free-enterprise system.
  • Provide opportunities for students to start and operate enterprises of an appropriate size and scope, in which they are personally invested, and in a manner that is significant to them.
  • Reinforce the concept that successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks based on sound research and relevant information, including economic analysis.
  • Require students to conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability of the start-up.
  • Encourage/require students to develop a comprehensive business plan that addresses financial, marketing, and operational aspects.
  • Generate an understanding of the many career fields that offer entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Emphasize the need to operate enterprises in a legal, ethical, and socially and environmentally responsible manner.
  • Demonstrate the place for entrepreneurship and innovation in for-profit, non-profit, corporate and public sectors of the economy.
  • Facilitate the discovery process and provide coaching to guide students to solutions for challenges encountered in establishing an entrepreneurial venture.
  • Provide hands-on learning opportunities where students learn by doing.
  • Curriculum and activities should include challenges with and without clear solutions.


Evaluation Instrument

Entrepreneurship Skills Checklist

Updated September 11, 2023 9:47am