Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2002 (Revised November 2010)

Strategic Planning at NFTE

by Allen S. Grossman and Daniel F. Curran


The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), is a successful nonprofit poised on the verge of explosive growth. The senior management contracted with McKinsey consultants to help guide the process. The founders of NFTE brought it from a small program run out of their apartment to a $7 million enterprise operating in 43 states and 14 countries. Yet, it is a loose organization run by mission-driven entrepreneurs who manage to succeed by grit, charisma, and inspiring others. McKinsey is an icon of rational business planning; its advice is data driven and impassionate. For NFTE to go to the next step of its development, it must radically change the organization and introduce both structure and discipline to themselves and others. This will require a number of difficult choices and behavioral changes. Was this a good partnership? Can NFTE succeed in making the necessary changes? Is the plan appropriate for the organization?

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Growth and Development Strategy; Growth Management; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Partners and Partnerships; Nonprofit Organizations;


Grossman, Allen S., and Daniel F. Curran. "Strategic Planning at NFTE." Harvard Business School Case 302-002, January 2002. (Revised November 2010.)