Monday, July 26, 2010

NFTE - Its Nifty

Jonathan Miller is the Founder and CEO of Element Bars. He is a foodie, tinkerer and blogger on Wednesdays.

Last week, I talked about building a homemade smoker. During the hot summer months, I recycle the terracotta pots into vegetable planters (their actual use) and my mini urban vegetable garden recently produced its first cucumber. I have heard some tall tales in fishing, but this cucumber was *honestly* humongous - over 14 inches long. . . and the taste and texture were spot-on (crispy, not bitter and not watery - a great summer treat). In my experience, if you take the time to make it yourself, it always tastes better. That's why I started Element Bars back in 2008 - why have some company tell you what you like in an energy bar when you can build your own custom energy bar.

As I reread last week's story of tinkering, I realized that good problem solving (which is at the heart of entrepreneurship) starts at a young age. Since there was no class on entrepreneurship at my high school, the groundwork was actually laid in my high school speech and debate program. In that class, I had to learn how to listen to an argument, understand the problem, break it down into its component parts, and then construct and defend my position.

Now there actually is a non-profit, The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), which is dedicated to teaching entrepreneurship in schools. I have volunteered at different NFTE events and have had the privilege of speaking at both the Business Building Boot camp and, just last week, at a NFTE teacher training session. Entrepreneurship can be a great platform for teaching and NFTE was actually just awarded the best math curriculum of 2010. What better way to learn math than applying it to real world businesses?

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