Today I have a guest post from Sarah Levy, a small business blogger. She comes to us today with advice for young entrepreneurs, and although her words are aimed at American based businesses, the same premise can be taken across the world. I know England has many similar schemes, and I’m sure most other countries do, too. Over to you Sarah:
Getting started in business isn’t easy, especially when you’re young and funding is minimal. But help is available from the federal government for young entrepreneurs looking to get their foot in the door.
The Young Entrepreneur Series (YES) is an initiative by the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that connects young and aspiring entrepreneurs with SBA officials, local business advisors, and resources to help them start and grow their own small business.
According to the SBA, entrepreneurship among young people remains below average because they face unique challenges. With youth unemployment twice the national average in many communities — particularly in communities of color and among veterans — the Obama administration recognized a need last year to promote and better support the efforts of young people to create jobs for themselves and others.
The YES Initiative
The YES initiative works in a couple of ways. In 2011 five forums were held nationwide as part of a larger effort to reach out to young people and let them know the federal government has tools to help them start, grow, and succeed as small business owners.
“We heard about the challenges facing young people and worked to connect them to our programs and resources,” says Marie Johns, deputy administrator of the SBA. “This includes our resource partners like SCORE, our Small Business Development Centers, and Women’s Business Centers, a network of over 14,000 counselors that offer mentoring, coaching and support for every stage of business growth. We’re focused on underrepresented communities and young people, streamlining loan products and simplifying access points to create more opportunities to succeed. ”
This past spring, the SBA built on that effort by hosting a summit on entrepreneurship at the White House to find ways to increase entrepreneurship opportunities on Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) campuses in underserved communities.
In April of this year, SBA launched the Start Young Initiative with the Department of Labor’s Employment Training Administration in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and New York City. Its goal is to provide young people in the Job Corps with specialized training and increased awareness of the opportunities and resources available to help them start their own business. In conjunction with the Department of Labor, SBA is in the process of expanding the pilot program to 10 other sites nationwide.
Last (but certainly not least when you’re trying to appeal to the younger generation), SBA offers an iPhone app that helps young people and other small business entrepreneurs find SBA-affiliated advisers in their area where they can receive free, personal, one-on-one help with starting and growing their business.
“President Obama often talks about laying a foundation for an economy built to last — one that restores security for middle class families and empowers the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” says Johns. “Here at the SBA, and across the administration, we are committed to ensuring young Americans have the access and opportunity they need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our competitors and win the future for generations to come.”
Huge thanks to Sarah for providing this information, I hope it reaches some young entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to start their dream business. As I said at the beginning of this post, other countries have similar schemes and opportunities available to young people. I suggest you head to Google, contact your local authority, and keep an eye out for any events close to you.