Editor’s Note: YoungEntrepreneur’s Ask the Expert column seeks to answer questions about everything from starting a business to growth strategies. To follow the column on Twitter — and ask a question — use hashtag #YEask, or leave a comment below. Your query may be the inspiration for a future column.
Steve Mariotti believes young entrepreneurs are the key engine of job creation and innovation for the future. As the founder of the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship he’s dedicated his life to helping low-income children learn how to launch and grow a business.
In 1982, Mariotti left his corporate job to become a special education teacher in some of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City. It was there he learned how to successfully motivate his at-risk students to stay in school: Teach them to be entrepreneurs.
Since the organization’s inception in 1987, NFTE has helped more than 450,000 inner-city youngsters in 21 states learn how to run a business through entrepreneurship training courses and educational programs. The NFTE is frequently used as a model for other programs to teach business know-how and the resulting business formation.
In addition to co-authoring 28 books on entrepreneurship that have sold more than one million copies, Mariotti is also the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2004 and the Bernard A. Goldhirsh Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007.
For this month only, Mariotti is eager to tackle your burning-business questions each week. Feel free to ask small-business related questions, including queries about business planning, networking, funding and finding customers.
Submit your questions in the comments section below and those with the most likes from other readers will be answered. On Twitter, use the hashtag #YEask. Please include your first and last name, your location (city and state) and the name of your business in your comment.