Inspiring Entrepreneurship

Venture for America | Mobilizing Graduates as Entrepreneurs

Andrew Yang is changing the landscape of America by connecting emerging start-ups and early-stage companies in depressed cities, including Detroit, Providence and New Orleans, with the talent they need to grow their businesses and reinvigorate their communities. Yang’s organization Venture for America (VFA), modeled after Teach for America (TFA), hopes to create 100,000 new jobs by 2025. The VFA business model is terrific because it gives students hands-on experience in an entrepreneurial environment, and allows them to apply their education to help revitalize neighborhoods and provide new jobs and opportunities for people without them. It also provides entrepreneurs with low cost access to high-quality labor and helps depressed cities compete with cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York for recent grads from top universities.

According to an article on forbes.com, over 1,000 students have applied for VFA fellowships and the first 7 of 50 fellows have been selected. Yang eventually wants to run a recruitment database and charge start-ups for access – brilliant.

This original post was written on 3/10/2012. On 12/3 Andrew Yang posted to the VFA blog that Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and Downtown Project have pledged $1 million to VFA over the next several years to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas. This pledge is the largest VFA has received to date.

Lessons:

  • You do not have to start from scratch. Build on great ideas that are already working (VFA & TFA)

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