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Business Education | Entrepreneurship

3 Best High School Entrepreneurship Curriculum Options

January 11th, 2022 | 5 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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Are you a high school business teacher looking for a new entrepreneurship curriculum? If so, you’re probably concerned about finding materials that are relevant and engaging for your students.

Whether you teach a semester elective or a year-long entrepreneurship course, you want to help your students prepare for certifications and their future career goals.

There are a variety of entrepreneurship resources out there, but it can be tough to decide which materials are right for you.

In this post, you’ll discover three popular  high school entrepreneurship curriculum that teachers have shared with us:

  • YE Academy
  • NFTE: Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship
  • BizInnovator Startup

After learning about each of these resources, you’ll have the information you need to decide if one or more is a good fit for your students.

1. YE Academy

Youth Entrepreneurs is a notable nonprofit organization designed to empower young people to pursue entrepreneurial goals. Youth Entrepreneurs offers YE Academy as a free curriculum to help teachers and students develop the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary for success.

YE Academy focuses on helping learners cultivate the values they’ll need to be successful leaders and entrepreneurs. To achieve this, YE Academy includes a broad range of lessons centered around principles Youth Entrepreneurs calls foundational values.

In total, YE Academy offers 118 lessons across eight topic areas:

  • YE Core (34 Lessons)
  • YE Planning (7 Lessons)
  • Foundational Values (10 Lessons)
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset (39 Lessons)
  • Economics (8 Lessons)
  • Marketing (10 Lessons)
  • Business Finance (4 Lessons)
  • Admin Resources (6 Lessons)

Teachers have a lot of options to apply the YE Academy curriculum in their classrooms. While a teacher can use individual lessons from a unit such as Entrepreneurial Mindset or Economics, YE Academy is designed as a comprehensive system with interlocking lessons that teach both knowledge and values.

For this reason, teachers and students will receive the most value when they use all or most of the content from the YE Academy program in the intended teaching order.

If you want a complete high school entrepreneurship curriculum that also teaches related personal skills, you can hardly go wrong with the YE Academy program--provided that you have enough time to cover the entire curriculum.

If this is the case for you, YE Academy can provide your students with high-quality entrepreneurship content that you can adapt to meet the needs of your high school business students.

2. NFTE: Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship

NFTE_logolockup_in-purple-and-orange | NFTE

Many teachers rely on a second reputable source for engaging entrepreneurship lessons, the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). NFTE is another international, not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding students’ entrepreneurial opportunities. NFTE focuses mainly on providing solutions to empower young people in low-income communities.

NFTE offers entrepreneurship solutions that can be taught online, in person, or through a hybrid instructional model. For high school students, NFTE offers two types of programs: pathway programs and awareness programs.

Pathway programs are designed for instruction through a school and include these options:

  • Entrepreneurship Essentials
  • Entrepreneurship 1
  • Entrepreneurship 2
  • Startup Tech

In general, Pathway programs are designed for teachers to implement as full-year courses.

Awareness programs are intended for teacher-led instruction either in school or outside of school and consist of these offerings:

  • Emerging Entrepreneurs Camp
  • NFTE BizCamp
  • World Series of Innovation
  • Venture

Awareness programs are shorter and range from just a few hours to as many as 80 instructional hours.

Educators can turn to NFTE’s Pathway programs if they’re interested in full-year entrepreneurship courses. If you are looking for a shorter option, an Awareness program like Venture or the World Series of Innovation can provide quality lessons for teachers.

One thing to note is  NFTE depends on direct partnerships with schools to implement programs. If you’re considering any of their programs, your institution will need to partner directly with NFTE to access their curriculum.

In addition, NFTE requires teachers to attend “NFTE U” teacher training and become members of the NFTE Entrepreneurial Teacher Corps.

This can be great professional development for teachers implementing full-year NFTE courses. Still, if you are looking for just a few entrepreneurship lesson plans, you may want to consider a less time-consuming option to find the materials you need.

3. BizInnovator Startup

Jacobson Institute |

BizInnovator Startup is a curriculum offered by the Jacobson Institute at the University of Iowa. The Jacobson Institute provides professional development and curriculum materials to help educators connect STEM education and entrepreneurship.

BizInnovator Startup is a complete curriculum designed for in-person or virtual instruction. The BizInnovator Curriculum Toolkit includes information on how startup businesses identify problems, collect data, and engineer business solutions. Students also learn and practice critical soft skills that will help them become better entrepreneurs.

The Curriculum Toolkit includes six modules instructors can use to teach a course on entrepreneurship:

  1. Entrepreneurship Overview
  2. What’s Your Problem?
  3. Know Your Customer
  4. Persevere or Pivot
  5. Crunching the Numbers
  6. Starting Your Startup

These modules include 50 hours of classroom content that teachers can use as a standalone course or incorporate into a longer program if teaching a full-year entrepreneurship course.

BizInnovator comes complete with scope and sequence documents, presentation slides, interactive activities, resources, and assessments. Students who complete a high school class using BizInnovator are eligible to apply for college credit through the University of Iowa.

Although the Jacobson Institute provides excellent entrepreneurship resources, they aren’t available for free. Teachers who want BizInnovator Startup will need to pay $149 per year for a license for their classrooms. Jacobson Institute also offers professional development opportunities for BizInnovator teachers at an additional cost.

Ultimately, teachers who are willing to pay annually for BizInnovator can receive great value if they incorporate the program in its entirety and have students interested in receiving college credit from a major university.

However, educators working with a limited budget or who only need supplemental resources will need to consider a different solution to implement in their classroom.

Meet Challenges in Your High School Entrepreneurship Classes

Providing excellent entrepreneurship materials to your high school students is critical to inspiring their dreams and setting them on the path to success in the business world.

If you’re looking to implement a full-year entrepreneurship course, any of the options in this article can give you the resources that you need to create a terrific learning experience for your students.

However, many business and entrepreneurship teachers have shared with us that finding the right curriculum isn’t the only challenge they face in the classroom. Teachers face obstacles every day, from dealing with technology to meeting diverse student needs.

Want to be better equipped to face your challenges as a business teacher? If so, download this free guide. You’ll find more information about five of the biggest challenges teachers like you face every day, along with information on how you can overcome them and focus on your learners.

Get My Free Guide