It wasn't just firefighters selling commemorative bracelets to raise money for the victims of September 11. Kids nationwide joined the effort, selling everything from lemonade to patriotic crafts and dog biscuits. Their business acumen may have emerged from the goodness of their hearts rather than a desire to profit, but valuable lessons about the freedom to create and sell were still evident.
C.J. Meenan, director of the Pittsburgh office of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), has seen the popularity of nonprofits with NFTE students balloon since September 11. "There's more awareness of what nonprofits do-their role in society-and more desire to engage in that type of activity," he says.
NFTE, which teaches entrepreneurship to low-income teenagers, has also experienced increased enrollment in subjects that received September 11-related press, such as international trade. Overseas programs also pique interest.
Most important, though, Meenan says that since September 11, more kids admire those who pursue the American Dream, and want to support their efforts. "Young entrepreneurs and teenagers in general are much more focused on entrepreneurial businesses in terms of purchasing decisions," says Meenan.
"I've heard a lot of young people say that if it came down to a choice between buying from a huge chain vs. the neighborhood entrepreneur, they've started to make a conscious decision to purchase from entrepreneurs."