And this wonderful article from Forbes Magazine, reminds us, once again, why that is so.
In the wake of the financial crisis, there has been no shortage of hand-wringing about the over-representation of top college graduates in a handful of fields, particularly finance, consulting, and law. Andrew Yang, himself a graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School—whose first job was with a white-shoe law firm before leaving to found, and later, sell a successful business school test-prep company—decided to do something about what he viewed as “an inefficient allocation of talent in this country”.
Yang—one of four recipients of the Manhattan Institute’s $25,000 2014 Richard Cornuelle Awards for Social Entrepreneurship—set out to create a new route into the economy, for some of America’s best and brightest, whom Yang believed, based on his own network, “have too limited a vision of what career success looks like,” and wind up bored and unhappy with even well-paying jobs. He believed there to be an unfulfilled appetite to go to work for small, start-up businesses—to help, as he puts it, “build something”. For good measure, Yang hoped to bring such talent to some of America’s most distressed cities, including Detroit, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
The result is Venture for America, which, in just three years, has successfully recruited more than 200 VFA Fellows (40 in 2012; 68 in 2013; 100 in 2014) from 48 colleges and universities (including Harvard, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Emory, Washington & Lee, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago). Fellows commit to two-year stints at one of 105 affiliated start-ups in eight cities: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Providence.
One finds VFA Fellows in jeans and T-shirts at places like Detroit’s “Madison accelerator”—business incubators filled with start-ups sharing workspaces and conference space. There’s STIK, which uses personal endorsements and Facebook to spread product endorsements under contract to major firms (including General Motors GM -0.68%). There’s Boost Up, through which a range of big-purchase retailers (including Hyundai and Quicken Loans) match the savings of households putting aside money for a home or car. There’s Are You a Human, a web analytics firm, which markets ways to demonstrate to retail advertisers that an internet ad has actually been viewed.
Fellows—who, by accounts of firm principals, have become integral to the growth and operation of their respective businesses—bubble over with enthusiasm for VFA.
Retrieved September 30, 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/howardhusock/2014/09/30/reclaiming-the-american-dream-ii-making-capitalism-cool/