The research project described in this paper is an inductive field study of The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (“NFTE”), an entrepreneurship education program in inner-city high schools in the United States. The rationale for studying this organization was simple, and twofold. First, since there appears to be quite fervent interest in developing and fostering entrepreneurship in economically challenged environments (Busenitz, et. al, 2000, Peredo and Chrisman, 2006, Spicer, McDermott and Kogut, 2000), then perhaps it would be best to study entrepreneurship education programs not in traditional settings but rather in those more barren environments themselves.

Second, this research enterprise allowed us to examine an important theoretical issue as well. The very premise of entrepreneurship education—namely that you can teach entrepreneurial behavior and this will in turn have a positive effect on society-- is itself controversial. This project sheds light on that controversy, with theoretical support from Baumol (1990) and Gerschenkron (1962).