VFA in Barron’s

We were very happy to be featured in Barron’s this past weekend!  Because the article appeared in the print edition and the article is subscriber only, we decided to post it to our blog. 


Growth Story: Graduate Start-Up Nation

A new nonprofit, inspired by Teach For America, aims to create a path for entrepreneurship.

Teach For America, the No. 1 employer of college grads last year, received some 46,000 applications from students eager to teach in inner cities. That inspired the creation of another nonprofit, Venture For America, which launched last Thursday.

The new group “is modeled after Teach for America, but our goal is to provide a path for entrepreneurship,” says founder Andrew Yang [redacted]. 

Yang hopes to create 100,000 U.S. jobs by 2025 in three struggling cities (Detroit, New Orleans and Providence, R.I.) by connecting the best and brightest college grads with emerging start-ups and first-year companies. The idea is that the start-up companies will survive and expand, thanks to the efforts of VFA’s “fellows,” who in turn may go on to start their own companies and create even more jobs.

“VFA greatly expands our reach in a talented, idealistic and fresh-thinking pool of job candidates,” says Jessica Millar, CEO of VCharge, a Providence renewable-energy company. Millar knew that as a small Rhode Island company with limited resources for recruiting, VCharge would have a tough time attracting the best candidates on its own. Now she’s hoping for “the type of energetic and versatile people we need.”

VFA’s application process starts Aug. 1 and a good number of students have been inquiring. “It’s ideal for measured-risk takers,” says Sahil Mehta, a senior at Northwestern University. Mehta is fine with the program’s $32,000-$38,000 starting salary but fears his mother may worry about his living in a tough city. “I haven’t pitched the idea to my parents yet,” he says.

– Kevin Sheehan