Individual Presentation

First Presenter's Institution

Foundation for Economic Education

Second Presenter's Institution

Foundation for Economic Education

Third Presenter's Institution


Fourth Presenter's Institution


Fifth Presenter's Institution



Ballroom B

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership


Strand/HEAD: This proposal relates to academic achievement and leadership for all students with supporting evidence that this program (both online and in-person) has resulted in equitable student learning opportunities over the past 71 years culminating in recent statistics and testimonials surpassing those of previous years. As a non-profit, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is able to create and share invaluable online courses and in-person workshops and camps including the Economics of Entrepreneurship online course, The Power of Entrepreneurship workshop, and 3-day summer camps which were recently named by Forbes as a top high school program. FEE resources are created to empower youth to be independent, self-reliant individuals providing opportunity to learn dynamic, relevant content and closing the educational opportunity gap. The real life skill of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset has proven to be vital in pulling youth placed at risk out of poverty. It functions simultaneously as post-secondary readiness, career readiness, and dropout prevention by encouraging struggling students to see themselves as future value creators, and to view their education as an investment in their future capital returns in an applicable way that transcends socioeconomic origin. Ideally, this program works best when introduced in 8th or 9th grade for early intervention and is made available to Title 1 schools at no cost with full tuition scholarships granted for overnight summer programming.

Brief Program Description

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) aims at equipping Title 1 schools with free, hands-on, engaging materials that any teacher can facilitate either individually or in a classroom setting with no background in entrepreneurship necessary. These versatile lessons, courses, and workshops teach the entrepreneurial mindset optimizing opportunities for grades 8-12 students no matter which life/career path they choose.


Having flexibility in a school setting is crucial, which is why we have developed an online and in-person option focused around the theme of self-empowerment and strong character through entrepreneurship which can be applied in any individual or group setting depending on the amount of time available and can be ‘facilitated’ by any teacher without any background in economics or entrepreneurship. Both the online courses as well as the workshop can be broken down into 45 minute - 1 hour class periods, conducted as a 1-day ‘crash course’ or as a semester-long elective Entrepreneurship course.

Entrepreneurship in Action! (In-Person workshop): A fun and exciting one day hands-on workshop for teens placed at risk; focused on the importance and applications of entrepreneurship. Whether you want to start a business or not, learning the entrepreneurial mindset is a must for all students no matter their current socioeconomic state or career path. This dynamic workshop can be facilitated by anyone and will inspire students to become self-reliant value creators for society and themselves. Students will feel empowered as they learn invaluable economic concepts, leadership skills, critical and creative thinking, and participate in individual and group projects which culminate in a Shark Tank competition!

The Economics of Entrepreneurship is a multi-platform online course introducing the inspiring entrepreneurial mindset, value creation, problem solving, economic decision making, and is a lifelong tool to lift up all students and communities- a tool students will keep with them and use even if they do not start their own business, but will help them find ways to increase their value within their own professions and networks and enhance chances of success.

These 40 online ready-to-go lessons can be facilitated in a classroom setting or self-paced and contain a series of eight modules organized around the essential concepts of entrepreneurship through a series of carefully selected articles, videos, discussion questions, and activities.

Poverty, Prosperity, and Opportunity online course explains the causes of economic development and getting people out of poverty. In this course students learn what drives income and wealth inequality and what causes them to become exacerbated. There is an added focus on how social enterprises and entrepreneurship can help communities grow and thrive, even when government policy gets in the way.


In a 2007 survey conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, 40% of Americans between the ages of eight and twenty-one would like to start a business someday, but the majority don’t even realize this as an option. 63% believe that if they work hard, they can successfully start a new company. This is good news for the American economy. Fast-growing start-ups (gazelle firms) create two-thirds of new jobs in a country that requires 3 million new jobs every year, according to the Kauffman Foundation. But what does this mean for youth placed at risk? Entrepreneurship education is especially vital to those who have the most to gain through entrepreneurship- namely, minority communities, those living in poverty, and those students who are in danger of dropping out.

Entrepreneurship has always been a cornerstone of minority communities. Examples of entrepreneurship as the foundation of minority communities include Black Wall Streets and Chinatowns across the world. The US Commerce department found that between 2007 and 2012 the percentage of minority-owned firms increased from 22% to 29% of the total number of American firms, with Hispanic Americans opening roughly 900,000 firms and Black Americans opening roughly 700,000 firms. Yet minority-owned businesses frequently suffer lower revenue and slower growth than Caucasian-owned firms. This indicates clear desire for entrepreneurship in at-risk communities, but suggests lack of human capital and training that oppresses communities and saddles would-be value-creators with the baggage of failed endeavours. Entrepreneurship education would empower members of these communities to start and maintain successful businesses, create jobs, and escape the cycle of poverty.

Potential dropouts also experience disproportional benefits from entrepreneurship education. 47% of dropouts claim their classes were not interesting, a term that could encompass many fears. Students growing up in poverty are less concerned with the Treaty of Waterloo than they are with escaping poverty- and rightfully so! Entrepreneurship education offers the answers to a more pressing question than the square root of x- “how am I going to eat?” Students respond to relevant content, especially when it concerns money. Furthermore, entrepreneurship education expands beyond the obvious of starting a business. Students who study entrepreneurship learn problem-solving, critical thinking and analytics, applicable math skills, resourcefulness, and the rewards of providing value to others. Furthermore, entrepreneurs are required to build self-esteem and nurture an internal locus of control- mindsets that foster success in all fields, lower stress, raise academic performance, and create a healthier mindset. Whether these students grow up to be entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs creating value for the firms who hire them, or even homemakers managing familial resources, these skills will be valuable to them.

In their publication “Youth Entrepreneurship Education in America: A Policymaker’s Action Guide,” the Aspen Institute states that “there is no system in place that offers entrepreneurial education as an option to all students,” but that is no longer the case. The Foundation for Economic Education, a 501c3 non-political, privately-funded nonprofit has created a free online course entitled ‘The Economics of Entrepreneurship.’ This eight-module course teaches entrepreneurship in a dynamic, holistic manner using plain language that is acceptable for all middle and high school students. The materials can be accessed online at any time on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. They can also be taught in a workshop setting, even by someone with no prior knowledge of economics or entrepreneurship. The curriculum includes hands-on activities, videos, quizzes, and discussion questions that provide an engaging vehicle by which curious young people can learn skills that they will carry with them forever. Because our curriculum is published under a Creative Commons, educators can tailor the materials to their specific audiences without fear of copyright infringement. Furthermore, we can work with groups of 100 or more students to tailor content, and may be available to host a workshop at your school free of charge. These options give educators flexibility in their use of our curriculum without imposing significant time costs, and at no explicit costs to the school or educator. Additionally, because we are privately funded, our ability to provide these services is not tied to state or county budgets.

This programming is valued by teachers, parents, and academics around the country, but its biggest advocates are our students. Of 2016 3-Day Summer Seminar attendees, 85% would recommend the experience to a friend. Of 14-17 year olds who attended these seminars, only 20% started the seminar with a strong understanding of entrepreneurial discovery. By the end of the seminar, that number exceeded 70%!

Of our 2016 Spring One-Day Seminar Attendees, 85% said that our programming met or exceeded expectations, and 71% said they would absolutely recommend us to a friend. These numbers are even higher for our Discovering Entrepreneurship seminar, where 96% of attendees said the programming met or exceeded expectations and 76% said they would absolutely recommend it to a friend.

In September, 2017, Over 85% of our ‘Entrepreneurship in Action’ workshop attendees said they are either ‘more’ or ‘much more’ interested in Entrepreneurship after the workshop.

These courses and workshops are great for:

  • Students interested in starting a business or learning more about the entrepreneurial mindset

  • Teachers seeking to complement learning objectives taught in introductory-level economics, business, history, and civics classes

  • Leaders of youth organizations looking for lessons and activities around entrepreneurship, economics, personal character, leadership, and individual prosperity

  • Parents wanting their students to get the most out of life through making better choices and better understanding the tradeoffs involved with those choices

We believe we have mastered the art of creating engaging materials for all students to discover their entrepreneurial sides through our courses, workshops, and seminars. It is for this reason we would like to present the entrepreneurship course and the accompanying free workshop materials at the National At-Risk-Youth Conference. These materials will empower educators and administrators to teach entrepreneurship, a skill set that can uplift teens that may be at-risk.

Related National Standards: Standard 14: Entrepreneurship

Biographical Sketch

Marianna Brashear is the Curriculum Development and Outreach Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education aimed at teaching the humane value and ethical principles of free markets to a high school audience. She is a Ukrainian immigrant whose life passion is to promote the ideas and virtues of liberty and free enterprise available to all American citizens and to expose today’s youth to the great opportunities available to them. Marianna has served as a curriculum developer and Russian instructor for the US Air Force and has also served on various charter and county school governance and advisory boards. Marianna is the creator of FEE’s Entrepreneurship in Action! Workshop and co-author of the Economics of Entrepreneurship online course. Marianna enjoys reading about positive psychology, philosophy, and the implementation of positivity through parenting and holistic education. Marianna enjoys volunteering as a Russian interpreter and preparing immigrants for the US Citizenship Test. Marianna holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Aspen University.


Jason Riddle is the Director of Programs and Alumni Relations at the Foundation for Economic Education. In addition to leading FEE's in-person seminars, he is the creator of FEE's Economics of Entrepreneurship course and FEE's Economics in One Day workshop. Prior to joining FEE, Jason spent over eight years as a management consultant working with a variety of public and private organizations to enhance their business performance through improved risk management, operational effectiveness, and control around internal and external reporting.

Jason is the co-founder and former chairman of the Atlanta Chapter of America's Future Foundation (AFF). He served as AFF’s National Chapter Coordinator where he helped to identify and develop liberty-minded young professional leaders across the country.

Jason spent two years as the co-host and producer of a business talk show in Atlanta focusing on the principles of sound economics and individual liberty. His unique approach to the news and events impacting the financial markets, businesses, and individuals helped the program become one of the top-ranked weekend programs on AM radio in Atlanta.

Jason graduated from the University of Georgia with a BBA in International Business and a concentration in Finance. Jason is an avid reader, enjoys traveling the world, and takes any opportunity he can to fumble around on his guitar. He is most passionate about advancing the ideas that serve as the necessary foundation for human flourishing.

Keyword Descriptors

Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, Strong Character, Leadership, Individual prosperity, Ethics, Personal Success, Value Creation, Economics Education, Free Enterprise

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-6-2018 8:30 AM

End Date

3-6-2018 9:45 AM


Mar 6th, 8:30 AM Mar 6th, 9:45 AM

Entrepreneurship Education Empowers Youth to Change their Lives

Ballroom B

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) aims at equipping Title 1 schools with free, hands-on, engaging materials that any teacher can facilitate either individually or in a classroom setting with no background in entrepreneurship necessary. These versatile lessons, courses, and workshops teach the entrepreneurial mindset optimizing opportunities for grades 8-12 students no matter which life/career path they choose.