The programs have a real impact on students. Mary Arnold of Japlin, Mo., has taught BizWorld to fifth-graders in an independent school for five years. "Each year when I teach BizWorld, I really see it open up an awareness of how economics play such an important role in our everyday lives. Before the classes, students only thought of economics as something they study in social studies, and not having anything to do with the food or the products they choose to buy," says Arnold. The organization has even garnered the attention of American Express ( AXP), which presented BizWorld with a $25,000 grant. Google ( GOOG) has offered free advertising for the company, and Merrill Lynch ( MER) is a sponsor as well.
Business-minded kids are not just limited to quiet suburban streets. New York City-based nonprofit organization NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) is geared towards introducing entrepreneurship to low-income youths and training teachers using its specialized curriculum . "Entrepreneurship education help kids by enhancing business education and life skills and teaching them to think like entrepreneurs so they can take control of their future," says Connie Jones, director of integrated marketing and communications. The organization was founded by Steve Mariotti in 1987: After moving from the corporate sector to become a special-education teacher, Mariotti realized he could effectively motivate struggling students by teaching them how to start a business. Today it has reached more than 180,000 young people all over the world, says Jones.