Fostering Futures

Youth Entrepreneurship Program

This intensive program is designed to provide adolescents/teens and young adults foundational knowledge, resources, and support to embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys.


We utilize five guiding principles developed by helping dispel the common myths of entrepreneurship and shaping youth's understanding of the entrepreneurial journey. This approach has a bias towards action aligned with "learning by doing" approaches and helps young people get their ventures off the ground quickly.

1. The Affordable Loss principle delivers a reality check to youth related to the potential financial success of their business. It reminds youth to consider not what they expect to gain from their business, but rather only what they can afford to lose; a pertinent reminder given that globally, over 70% of business start-ups fail (Riani, Abdo. Forbes Magazine). Youth may dream about getting rich from business; this principle realistically reminds them that financial success in business takes time if it comes at all and that there is a lot of hard work before any gains.​

2. The Crazy Quilt principle teaches young people about the importance of collaboration, rather than competition, in business. The principle, in short, offers that entrepreneurs expand their resources by entering into strategic partnerships with others. For youth, this dismisses the myth of the solitary entrepreneurial genius and instead promotes the idea of working with one's peers to solve problems and seize opportunities, leveraging the strengths each individual brings to the team.

3. The Lemonade principle recognizes that entrepreneurs encounter surprises – good and bad – on their entrepreneurial journey. This is especially true in developing country contexts, where settings can shift dramatically in response to political, social, and environmental occurrences. The principle suggests that youth treat these surprises as opportunities to be seized rather than setbacks. Helping reinforce key soft skills, such as problem-solving, flexibility, and creativity, that youth need to be successful in business and in life.

4. The Pilot-in-the-Plane principle, the overarching worldview of the theory, invites young people, as entrepreneurs, to see themselves, rather than pre-existing market factors, as determinants of their future. This is a particularly powerful idea for youth, many of whom might otherwise feel like they are victims of factors beyond their control.

5. The Bird-in-Hand principle invites young people to start doing business based on their own available resources or their "means." Given that many youths have limited resources to begin with, this principle necessitates that youth entrepreneurs start small. However, it also recognizes the tremendous value of nonfinancial resources in the entrepreneurial process, such as one's identity ("who I am"), skills and experiences ("what I know"), and personal connections ("who I know").

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