VFA Rise

The Mission

VFA Rise exists to empower, provide opportunities, and create a formal community space for Fellows and Alumni who identify with or want to support groups that are underrepresented in entrepreneurial and innovation communities and subject to marginalization.

VFA Rise Groups

VFA Rise is a partnership among Fellows, Alumni, the VFA Team, and our larger network. The program is spearheaded by the individual groups that fall under the VFA Rise umbrella with support from the VFA Programs team. We currently have eight groups:

build21

build21 is an empowerment network for Fellows/Alumni of African-American, Afro-Caribbean & African descent to directly connect personally and professionally with each other and experienced entrepreneurs of color in the high-growth entrepreneurial ecosystem, globally.

 

VentureOut

As Venture for America’s community group for LGBTQ individuals and allies, VentureOut’s mission is to promote sexual orientation and gender identity diversity within VFA and the startup ecosystems in which VFA operates.

 

VFA Antha Prerna

VFA Antha Prerna is a Rise group intended for Fellows and Alums who identify as South Asian or South Asian American to discuss race and identity in both professional and personal contexts. South Asian is defined as having origins in the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, or Maldives. Antha Prerna (Unthuh Prayer-na) is a sanskrit phrase meaning “self motivated” and “entrepreneurial” which is where the word entrepreneur originated.

 

VFAsians

VFAsians is a forum for Fellows and Alumni who identify as Asian or Asian-American to discuss race and identity in both professional and personal contexts, and access resources and connections.

 

VFA Latinx

VFA Latinx is a resource group intended to connect fellows who identify as Latino/Latina/Latinx in order to create space for dialogue on the intersection between identity and professional development.

 

VFA MEDAN

VFA MEDAN is toolbox and community for fellows who identify as Middle Eastern or North African committed to the professional and personal development of each other in entrepreneurial environments, empowering each other through a connected network, and creating a dialogue around identity.

 

VFA WMN

VFA WMN is a community of women and allies who come together to provide resources, support, and space for conversation to empower women in VFA to meet their personal and professional goals.

"I actually think entrepreneurship is an incredible thing for LGBTQ folks. My experience has been about creating your own spaces and not relying on corporate structures for your survival — that resonates quite a bit. I'm very happy with [VentureOut] and I think it resonates with my values."

– VentureOut Fellow

How We Support

Financial Support

Venture For America allocates a yearly budget to all VFA Rise groups. This can be used to host events for members and the Fellow community, provide professional development opportunities, cover travel fees to conferences, allyship training, and much more.

Mentorship

Our groups often have a VFA alum who will mentor the VFA Rise leads by sharing best practices for managing the group or coordinating programming. If there is interest, our Programs team will connect groups with external mentors who share their identity and are able to offer advice or lend support for initiatives.

Team Advisors

A VFA Team member will serve as the champion and sounding board for each group and will be the main point of contact between the team and each group.

Financial Support

Financial Support

Venture For America allocates a yearly budget to all VFA Rise groups. This can be used to host events for members and the Fellow community, provide professional development opportunities, cover travel fees to conferences, allyship training, and much more.

Mentorship

Mentorship

Our groups often have a VFA alum who will mentor the VFA Rise leads by sharing best practices for managing the group or coordinating programming. If there is interest, our Programs team will connect groups with external mentors who share their identity and are able to offer advice or lend support for initiatives.

Team Advisors

Team Advisors

A VFA Team member will serve as the champion and sounding board for each group and will be the main point of contact between the team and each group.

BFA Introduces VFA to Leslie Miley

BFA Introduces VFA to Leslie Miley

When Seun Oyewole ’14 met Leslie Miley at Black Tech Week in Miami, he knew that he had to be a part of the VFA community. Seun made the introduction, leading Miley to become a trainer at Training Camp in 2016 & 2017.

VentureOut & Out in Tech

VentureOut & Out in Tech

VentureOut members Dylan McNally ’15 and Patrick McAnaney ’13 joined forces with our community partner Out in Tech, the non-profit uniting LGBTQ and tech. Together, they wrote the article, “5 Reasons Why LGBTQ Entrepreneurs Are Joining Forces,” to explore and, ultimately, help reduce the unique barriers facing LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

Read the article

Frequently Asked Questions

Are we open to creating new VFA Rise groups?

Yes, we are committed to supporting any eligible VFA Rise group.

How do you determine if a new VFA Rise group is eligible?

VFA Rise groups must comprise of Fellows and/or Alumni who belong to a social group or share a social identity that is subject to marginalization and underrepresented within the VFA Fellowship or the entrepreneurship or innovation community.

That being said, VFA is in support of all Fellows and/or alumni who would like to caucus amongst themselves or self-organize into interest groups to increase understanding and facilitate dialogue related to their social identities. These wouldn’t be known as VFA Rise Groups and won’t be financially supported through the VFA Rise budget, but VFA will continue to support all Fellows regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and other social identities through additional resources.

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