Entrepreneurship

Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, launched in 2017, is an effort to support development of pipelines into entrepreneurship in three Opportunity Youth Forum communities by infusing entrepreneurial education into existing pathway models. The initiative is supported by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Youth Entrepreneurship Fund aligns with the Opportunity Youth Forum’s efforts to implement multiple reconnection pathways with diverse education and training options that lead to economic success and stability for opportunity youth. The fund seeks to promote racial and economic equity and justice by ensuring that youth who are experiencing barriers to participation in the economy – including youth of color, Native American, and rural youth, as well as youth who are low-income and reside in public housing – are provided with a full range of opportunities to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and skills to thrive in today’s economy, as well as a set of tools needed to become an entrepreneur.

In 2017, three Opportunity Youth Forum communities received Youth Entrepreneurship Fund awards:

  1. Del Norte County and Tribal Lands Opportunity Youth Initiative, Del Norte County, CA (Humboldt Area Foundation, backbone). This effort envisions an entrepreneurship ecosystem in Del Norte County that is supported by a community-wide entrepreneurial culture that prioritizes microbusinesses as a key part of local economy, and a creation of a community-wide entrepreneurial culture, mindset, and ecosystem. The collaborative ultimately seeks to integrate entrepreneurship skills development into the K-12 and community college system and provide emerging entrepreneurs with business launch training and technical assistance, mentorship, as well as capital and marketing support. This effort will integrate and align with the ongoing Building Healthy Communities work supported by The California Endowment. The effort in Del Norte County is modeled after My Next Move, a human-centered design entrepreneurship training that was developed by ThinkPlace using concepts pioneered by Stanford University’s Design for Change Center. Additional partners in the project are the Side Hustle Club, Workforce Center, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Nebraska, Del Norte County Schools, College of the Redwoods, Food Policy Council, and Redwood Coast Rural Action.
  2. Project U-Turn, Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Youth Network, backbone). This effort seeks to enhance the existing Philadelphia entrepreneurship ecosystem by expanding access to curriculum that develops entrepreneurial mindset and skills to opportunity youth, providing these youth and young adults with pathways into entrepreneurship and careers in small businesses.  This long-term vision seeks to scale new entrepreneurial education program models by embedding them into youth development programs citywide and to identify and infuse promising practices to improve existing programs. The effort in Philadelphia will build on existing partnerships to pilot, evaluate, and expand an entrepreneurship pathway for opportunity youth, supporting youth in launching microbusinesses, and developing valuable workplace and career skills. The effort will bring together six partners that represent  citywide opportunity-youth focused collaboratives including: Project U-Turn, Generation Work, and the City Workforce Steering Committee.  This partnership aims to:1) implement a new entrepreneurship pilot within E3 Power Centers, which provide education, employment, and life skills training to out-of-school youth to support re-engagement in education and the workforce, and 2) inject evidence-based entrepreneurial education into existing pathway models.  The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a nationally recognized entrepreneurship education provider, w is supporting curriculum and program design. Additional partners include the Job Opportunity Investment Network, Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Philadelphia Department of Human Services, and Philadelphia Youth Network.
  3. Bay Area Community Resources and the HOPE SF Initiative, San Francisco, CA (Bay Area Community Resources, backbone). In partnership with several San Francisco youth-focused collaboratives, including Roadmap to Peace, Black to the Future, and the Phoenix Project, Bay Area Community Resources and HOPE SF Initiative seek to address the demographic crisis facing San Francisco, where communities of color and youth are being pushed out of the city by gentrification and escalating housing costs. This project works to ensure that these communities have a stake in San Francisco through business ownership and opportunities to develop their assets. The long-term vision is to build a robust, multi-sector collaborative that will implement a strategy to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and skills among San Francisco youth. This effort will provide entrepreneurial education, mentoring, financial literacy training, business development classes, and wrap-around supports to youth residing in public housing, who are among the most marginalized of San Francisco residents and do not  currently have a path into the rich entrepreneurial ecosystem of the city. The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship will adapt its curriculum to be delivered in public housing and will train youth facilitators to facilitate the curriculum to their peers. Additional partners in the project are Youth Business USA, MyPath, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, HOPE SF Youth Champions (which is providing matching funding for the initiative), San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, City College, and San Francisco State University.
    To learn more about the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, please email the Forum for Community Solutions at: aspenfcs@gmail.com.
Youth Entrepreneurship Fund aligns with the Opportunity Youth Forum’s efforts to implement multiple reconnection pathways with diverse education and training options that lead to economic success and stability for opportunity youth.