Sam’s invests in long-term future

Small businesses have long been a core customer group at Sam’s Club, so much so that at one point the retailer’s tag line was, “in business for small business.” It makes sense then that Sam’s would invest in a program that promotes entrepreneurship and for that the nation should be thankful.

Walmart, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and countless Sam’s Club and Walmart suppliers were small businesses at one point. So to encourage the next generation of business owners and potentially its next generation of customers, Sam’s Club provided a $700,000 grant to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

The organization’s objective is to teach young people how to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and start their own business. NFTE president and CEO Amy Rosen said the Sam’s Club grant will help the group reach its goal of instilling the entrepreneurial mindset in one million young people by 2017.

The $700,000 grant announced this week will fund programs in 15 U.S. communities. Over the past year, NFTE taught more than 1,500 students about the wholesale business through field trips to select Sam's Club locations, where the students engaged in role playing as business owners and learned skills on how to manage a small business and how to budget for business operations.

The grant also funded a study called The NFTE Difference that looks at the performance of those who participated in its curriculum. Among 1,282 participants surveyed in early 2013, the level of education and business ownership was higher among NFTE alumni compared to the U.S. population overall. For example, 90% of NFTE alumni aged 16-24 are enrolled in high school or college, as compared to 60% of the same age group in the US overall. Nearly 75% of NFTE alumni who own businesses said they were profitable. NFTE alumni between the ages of 25 and 40 were employed, compared to 69% in the US overall.

"Since Sam Walton, one of the world's greatest entrepreneurs, founded Sam's Club in 1983 to serve small businesses, we have sought to provide services and solutions to grow small business success," Steve Schrobilgen, regional general manager and VP, Sam's Club Northeast, said at an event in Maryland where the grant was presented. "We are thrilled to carry on this commitment through philanthropy. We hope to inspire young people to be the next generation of great entrepreneurs and we appreciate the impact NFTE is making through its program.”

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