Research: The YES Project

About the Study

The Young Entrepreneurs Study (YES) is a joint project with the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development (IARYD) at Tufts University and the Stanford Center on Adolescence. Made possible through the support of the John Templeton Foundation, the YES project is a longitudinal study of the development of entrepreneurial purpose, achievements, and character attributes among diverse adolescents and young adults in the United States. Specifically, we are interested in identifying the cognitive, motivational, behavioral, and ecological bases of entrepreneurship development.

We define entrepreneurship as "The process of creating something new with value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the risks, and receiving the resulting rewards." Among young people, entrepreneurship refers to the application of enterprising qualities within both new and existing organizations, and using the appropriate skills necessary for success in that environment and culture. Accordingly, we are interested in both traditional perceptions of entrepreneurship, such as starting a business, and the more novel pathways that young adults take to build a career. Entrepreneurship affords promising opportunities to people in low-income communities, and has the potential to contribute in positive ways to economic well-being and positive social change in society. Therefore, we believe that fostering entrepreneurship will significantly enhance our business and social communities.

The quantitative and qualitative findings from this study will provide scientifically validated information needed for creating effective educational programs and policies designed to foster entrepreneurial capacity. In addition, this project will provide a theory of youth entrepreneurship, as well as a model for future entrepreneurship research on this essential but under-studied area of American life.

For an overview of the project, please see our:

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