Steve Mariotti left a successful business career in 1982 to become a public high school teacher in New York City's roughest neighborhoods. Mariotti discovered he could reach even his most troubled students by teaching them to run small businesses.

In 1987, he founded the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth. Since then, more than 700,000 students in 22 states and 12 countries have graduated from NFTE programs. Mariotti has authored several books and textbooks for young entrepreneurs and has received many awards for his groundbreaking work.

Mariotti has also been named the Fellow of Entrepreneurial Education for the PhilaU Center for Entrepreneurship at Philadelphia University.