We give our Fellows the pathway and resources to build businesses, create new jobs, and launch initiatives that help their communities thrive.
We've selected and trained more than 500 Fellows, and they've been hired to work at over 200 startups across 17 cities.
The companies where our Fellows work—and the companies they've founded—have created over 2,000 new jobs over the last five years, in cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit, New Orleans, and Birmingham.
25% of our alumni have gone on to found companies of their own, from a company that builds websites for small businesses to a line of natural haircare products for women of color. They've participated in programs like Y Combinator, Techstars, and the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator.
“The $1.5 Million I committed to Venture for America was a no brainer…these young, creative and entrepreneurial Fellows are exactly the kind of talented brain force that the companies who are relocating to the burgeoning urban cores of Detroit and Cleveland want and need.”– Dan Gilbert Founder and Chairman, Rock Ventures LLC and Quicken Loans Inc. Majority Owner, 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers
Impact Up Close: How Ash & Anvil Found Their Fit
2013 Fellows Eric Huang & Steven Mazur were interested in entrepreneurship long before they became co-founders.
They met as VFA Fellows, both working at SocialProof in Detroit. As the the end of the fellowship approached, Eric & Steven agreed that they were ready to formally start a company of their own. In searching for potential ideas, they realized that they shared two things in common: similar statures (Steven is 5’6” and Eric is 5’8”), and a shared frustration at the lack of simple, tailored clothes for shorter men.
As one of the first companies to design clothes for guys 5’8″ and below, the pair spent months speaking with potential customers and hosting fit sessions to make sure they got their shirts just right. They eventually found the perfect design and pre-sold their first line of shirts through the Innovation Fund, raising $26,000 during their month-long crowdfunding campaign.
And that is how Ash & Anvil, a brand of everyday clothes for shorter men, was born.More Fellow stories