VFA : Revitalizing America Through Entrepreneurship
Hi there, Business Analyst Sean Rowland coming at you. I have successfully completed two weeks with Revelry and have enjoyed every second of my time here. I came to Revelry by way of Venture For America (VFA), a non-profit just a few years old with the goal to “revitalize America through entrepreneurship.” How does the organization do this? By solving a generational problem that VFA’s founder, Andrew Yang, noticed after working as a corporate attorney.
Yang determined that the America’s smart and ambitious college graduates are heading into one of a several career tracks. These tracks include law, finance, consulting or graduate studies. However, the ambition and talent of these graduates are soon lost in bureaucratic structures and the promise of high pay for sticking to a certain career path. Yang also knew that startup companies and small businesses account for the majority of job creation in the US but were not getting the talent that they needed to successfully grow their firms. Wouldn’t it be great if these young companies got top talent instead of the behemoth known as Wall Street? Hence, Venture For America.
VFA matches high-achieving recent college graduates with startup and early stage companies to work for them for two years. The goal is to give the young companies access to top talent while allowing the Venture For America fellows the chance to gain valuable business and technical skills by helping to grow the partner companies. Critics have cited the two-year rule with the failure of Teach For America in certain areas of the country. This hasn’t been the case with Venture For America. The vast majority of graduating fellows are either continuing to work for their startups, working for another startup, or starting their own businesses like Brian Rudolph with Banza pasta.
With their third class of fellows, Venture For America now has operations in 12 cities and shows no signs of stopping soon. They plan on having 150+ fellows in their fourth class and expanding to at least three new cities. Being part of the New Orleans cohort has been exhilarating. One day you talk about software engineering, the next the latest ed-tech startup, and then try to design a more environmentally friendly Mardi Gras. The bar scene isn’t that bad either. Top talent is moving to New Orleans and is starting to invest long-term resources into the Crescent City. It’s great to see and people are going to continue to invest in the city that we call home.