Young Entrepreneur Council
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|Scott Gerber (president and founder)|
|Mission||To provide a solution to the epidemics of youth unemployment and underemployment|
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an American company that provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth. The YEC also promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment. It was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Scott Gerber.
Membership in the YEC is considered on an invite-only basis. The organization has several hundred members, all successful young entrepreneurs and business owners, ages 17 to 40 – a group that includes the founders and leaders of LivingSocial, Airbnb, Reddit, College Hunks Hauling Junk, Mint.com, myYearbook, Thrillist, Yodle, Threadless, ModCloth, Grasshopper, Likeable, HootSuite, Red Mango, and Blip.tv.
The YEC has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, CBS Evening News, Fox News, AOL, Portfolio.com, Bloomberg Businessweek, CNN, Reuters, Mashable, The Huffington Post, and NPR. Additionally, YEC content (contributed by various network members) is syndicated to over 40 major media outlets on a regular basis.
Gen Y Capital Partners
In October 2011, the YEC announced the creation of Gen Y Capital Partners, a collaboration with the White House to create a new investment model for Generation Y entrepreneurs struggling to get their companies off the ground. Co-founded by Scott Gerber and 2tor CMO Jeremy Johnson, and in partnership with the YEC, Gen Y Capital Partners has committed to investing in several hundred startups over the next decade. With a specific focus on early-stage investment, the program often invests alongside angel investors to provide a company’s first outside round of capital.
The program was announced by the White House on October 25, 2011.
Youth Entrepreneurship Act
The YEC is a sponsor of the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, proposed legislation designed to make it easier for young people to start a business. The Act includes student loan forgiveness programs, expanded access to micro loans, and increased investment in entrepreneurship education.
More specifically, the Act, co-founded by members of the YEC and members of the Young Invincibles, calls for federal action to:
- Expand, and more directly target, federal incentives for education in entrepreneurship at both secondary and post-secondary levels.
- Encourage entrepreneurship through agency-sponsored student entrepreneurship events and learning, modeled after HHS initiatives.
- Provide greater flexibility in the use of Title 5 “Well-Rounded” funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so that local and state educators can better support entrepreneurship education programs.
- Double the capital available and restructure the SBA MicroLoan Program, target outreach to young people, and ensure that intermediaries are not putting up barriers to accessing these dollars due to lack of credit or collateral. Target loan programs to young people without college degrees and in communities of color.
- Incentivize innovative private sector programs that provide start-up capital and services to young entrepreneurs.
- Implement a federal student loan deferment, reduction, and forgiveness program for young people who start businesses, and maximize existing IBR programs.
- Target federal government procurement at young small businesses.
The bill’s authors worked with Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans, LA), who proposed in 2011 creating an Office of Youth Entrepreneurship at the Small Business Administration. The office would provide young innovators with the professional and technical support they need to grow their businesses. It would also work with the Department of Education to research and recommend legislation to Congress that would create a youth entrepreneurship loan forgiveness program for federal student loans.
In 2012, the YEC launched #FixYoungAmerica, a campaign with over 40 partner organizations (including Babson College, Junior Achievement, General Assembly, Codecademy, and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) to promote entrepreneurial education, increase access to capital for startups, and encourage entrepreneurship within the Fortune 500—all in hopes of addressing youth unemployment. Major funding for #FixYoungAmerica is provided by LegalZoom.
The campaign’s major tenets are outlined in a book, #FixYoungAmerica, a compilation of essays. With 33 contributors, the book covers entrepreneurship from a number of angles, including,
- Student loan forgiveness for young entrepreneurs
- Passing a crowd funding bill
- Franchise ownership for veterans and youth
- Creating new "Silicon Valleys" across the U.S.
- Graduating more entrepreneurs from colleges
- Expanding Self-Employment Assistance (SEA)
- Increasing young founders' access to capital
- Teaching entrepreneurship to all Americans, including low-income youth
- Why entrepreneurship is a viable alternative to college
- Teaching tech and software engineering on a national level
- Promoting intrapreneurship and employment in startups
- Fostering innovation through competitions
- Preparing community college students for entrepreneurship
The campaign's stated goals are to a) Put a copy of the book into the hands of every politician, college president and leader in America; b) Testify in a Congressional hearing about issues facing young entrepreneurs and ways to solve them; c) Set up a round-table meeting to discuss #FYA solutions with government leaders; d) Rally support from major U.S. corporations, celebrities, and noteworthy entrepreneurs; e) Gain traction in the mainstream media to generate greater awareness for the campaign; f) Raise enough funds to bring the campaign to the masses, reaching decision makers across the United States.
In 2012, the YEC launched MyStartupLab, a free, virtual mentorship and education platform for entrepreneurs. Partner organizations include the Kairos Society, Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization, MassChallenge, and George Washington University. According to the YEC website, MyStartupLab will work with any organization that "supports entrepreneurship" - including those found at the hyperlocal, collegiate, statewide, national and global level; as well as incubators, accelerators, coworking facilities, and business plan competitions.
The MyStartupLab platform includes,
- Live video Q&A: regularly scheduled thematic live events where aspiring entrepreneurs can ask questions of accomplished entrepreneurs in a real-time, intimate environment
- Business library: downloadable reading materials with tip-based, op-ed and newsworthy articles, many written by YEC members
- YEC Open Mic: forum-based text chat on topics related to entrepreneurship, hosted by accomplished YEC entrepreneurs
- Additional local, regional and national resources for entrepreneurs
White House summit
In November 2011, the YEC co-organized a young entrepreneur summit at the White House to celebrate November’s National Entrepreneurship Month. A panel discussion, moderated by MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway, was followed by breakout meetings, led by several entrepreneurs from the YEC. The YEC’s Scott Gerber, a featured speaker at the event, talked about the importance of young entrepreneurs not only to the current administration but also to the nation for posterity. He shared his view of young entrepreneurship as “creating opportunities for other Americans” and advised students in the audience to “believe in what you’re doing and you’ll find your place in this world.” Calloway spoke about his connection to entrepreneurship; before becoming a correspondent for MTV News, he had led various enterprises, including creating a successful indie record label in the San Francisco Bay area and founding hip hop tour Rock the Bells. He spoke thereafter about the importance of young entrepreneurship in today’s economic climate. “We’re suffering challenges in the economy,” Calloway said. “There may not be a job that fits (students) when (they) get out of school.” Calloway encouraged young people to “make a job” for themselves and others as an alternative to unemployment and underemployment.
In July 2011, the Young Entrepreneur Council traveled to Egypt to launch its global mentorship efforts. The YEC, in coordination with the U.S. State Department’s new Global Entrepreneurship Program, USAID, the governments of Denmark and Egypt, and several other entrepreneurship organizations, traveled with a group of young American and Danish entrepreneurs to Cairo to share ideas with young Egyptian entrepreneurs on how to build a successful business. The trip was part of the Obama administration's international strategy to encourage entrepreneurship in countries, like Egypt, which have strong Muslim populations. The visiting group of entrepreneurs—seven from the United States (including Gerber and three other YEC members) and four from Denmark—along with leaders of business organizations, conducted a week-long startup boot camp.
Around the globe, the YEC has conducted live chats and mentorship programs in multiple other countries - such as Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco - and, in coordination with partner organizations such as Startup Weekend and Global Entrepreneurship Week, provides virtual mentorship programs in over 100 nations.
Scott Gerber (president and founder) - Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columninst, host of the Inc.com web show Ask Gerber, and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job. He's been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, TIME, CNN, Reuters, Mashable, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, MSNBC, US News & World Report, Fox News, Inc. and Entrepreneur.
Ryan Paugh (chief of staff) - Paugh is co-founder of Brazen Careerist, a social recruiting network for ambitious young professionals. He has been featured in dozens of national media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and 60 Minutes.
- No Jobs? Young Graduates Make Their Own – New York Times
- About: The Young Entrepreneur Council – Small Business Trends
- Young Entrepreneur Council Takes Shape – Fox News
- The Young Entrepreneur Council Rings The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell – NASDAQ
- A Start-up Accelerator For A New Generation Of Entrepreneurs - Forbes
- Obama Administration to Lower Student Loan Payments for Millions of Borrowers – Office of the Press Secretary, the White House
- Help Stimulate Youth Entrepreneurship in America! - Forbes
- Youth Entrepreneurship Act Issue Brief – Youth Entrepreneur Council
- Rep. Richmond Calls on Congress to Invest in Young Entrepreneurs (press release) - Congressman Cedric Richmond
- What Will "Fix" Young America? - Fortune
- How Entrepreneurship Can Fix Young America - Time
- Can We Fix Young America With Technology and Entrepreneurship? - Mashable
- The Young Entrepreneur Council website
- Reddit, Blip.TV and Other Startup Founders Advise Young Entrepreneurs – Washington Post
- White House Hosts Young Entrepreneurs for Summit on Innovation – Under 30 CEO
- We Celebrated the Future Hovas and Zuckerbergs @ The White House - MTV
- Arab Spring Turns Into an Entrepreneurial Summer – Portfolio.com
- How Western Entrepreneurs Are Supporting Egypt’s Growing Startup Scene - Mashable
- Scott Gerber of Young Entrepreneur Council: Cut the BS With Investors – CBS News Money Watch
- 4 Young Social Good Entrepreneurs to Watch - Mashable
- Networking in the Age of Social: 5 Minutes with Ryan Paugh - Monster