Steve Mariotti is a prominent advocate for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship education worldwide. He currently serves as Senior Fellow for Entrepreneurship at Rising Tide Capital in Jersey City. He is founder and former CEO of the global nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and the author of books, textbooks and articles exploring the transformative power of entrepreneurship for low-income communities.
Steve began his professional career as a treasury analyst for Ford Motor Company before founding his own company, Mason Import/Export Services. In 1992, Steve left his successful business career to serve as a Special Ed teacher in some of NYC's most poorest neighborhoods. Frustrated at first by his rowdy classrooms, Steve discovered he could motivate even his most challenging students by teaching them to run a small business. This experience inspired him to found NFTE to empower at-risk youth to create pathways out of poverty.
Steve founded NFTE on his public high school teacher's salary in 1987. He led teams that raised more than $150 million for NFTE's mission over 26 years, building NFTE into the leading global provider of entrepreneurship education for low-income youth from Chicago to China. Today, NFTE operates in 23 locations in 10 countries and has served more than 700,000 young people.
Steve soon discovered there were no textbooks available for teaching entrepreneurship to young people, so he wrote groundbreaking textbooks, including the Golden Lamp Award-winning high-school textbook Entrepreneurship: Starting and Operating a Small Business , and the junior college textbook Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Steve is also the author of the popular Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running a Business. Approximately 1.2 million copies of Steve's books, textbooks and workbooks have been sold or donated worldwide, including to prison educational programs like ITEM (Inmates Teaching Entrepreneurship and Mentoring), which Steve co-founded with Joe Robinson in 2004.
In 2012, Steve was inducted into the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. His multiple awards include: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Bernard A. Goldhirsh Social Entrepreneur of the Year; New York Enterprise Report 2012 Founders Award for Social Entrepreneurship; National Director’s Entrepreneurship Award from U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency; Association of Education Publishers Golden Lamp Award for best curriculum (2002) and best math curriculum (2010); ACE/Currie Foundation Humanitarian Venture Award; USASBE Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year; CEO Club Social Entrepreneur of the Year; America’s Top High School Business Teacher.
Steve has been profiled on national media, including ABC Evening News and 20/20. A Council on Foreign Relations member, he has lectured at The World Economic Forum, Davos and other forums and universities.
Raised in Flint, Michigan, Steve received his B.B.A. in business economics and his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mr. Mariotti has also studied at Harvard University, Stanford University, Brooklyn College and Babson College. He enjoys attending lectures on physics at the Institute for Advanced Studies in his current hometown, Princeton NJ.