"GENERATION START-UP” VENTURES FOR AMERICA
A brilliant way for a Gen Y to get good training in an interesting job and provide small businesses the talent they need (if only it weren’t for student debt).
- Gen Y/Millennials need jobs and training
- A large number of Gen Yers want to start a business, but have little or no knowledge and experience regarding what is needed to build a successful business.
- Small (under 500 employees) businesses need eager, smart, flexible, people concerned more with learning hard-to-find skills in entrepreneurial environments than earning top dollar.
- Many desirable college grads have student debt, which colors their career and job choices.
Note: The Gen Yers typically have a different mindset and way of operating from the “freelance mentality” of the Gen Xers of the dot-com era.
Challenge: How to connect the dots to benefit the aspiring but untrained entrepreneur and the businesses needing the talent, especially in struggling cities.
To meet this challenge, Venture for America, inspired by Teach for America, was started by Andrew Tang, former CEO of Manhattan GMAT, the test prep company. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the first 50 “fellows” will be placed in small businesses (under 500 employees) this summer for a 2-year stint. Tang’s goal is to help early stage businesses and start-ups take off, and he is targeting to create 100,000 jobs by 2025. At the same time, the young fellows will get the know-how and experience to start companies of their own if that’s their goal. According to a recent survey by the Young Invincibles (a group focusing on young entrepreneurship) 54% of 18-34 year-olds in the U.S. want to start a business or already have done so.
The companies employing the Venture for America fellows will pay them $32,000 to $38,000 a year plus health benefits, and the participants will receive a 5-week program at Brown University similar to training that consultants and investment bankers receive. The companies get bright, eager young workers they can afford to hire and mentor. This certainly would seem to fill the bill, especially for recent grads not burdened by family financial obligations or heavy student debt. Even so, it seems a good investment in their chosen career direction.
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com