Oakland Program Helps Underprivileged Youth Start Businesses


Anyone can become an entrepreneur. But some have less access to the education, mentors and resources that can be a huge help in starting a business.

That’s why Youth Impact HUB Oakland aims to help the youth in low income areas of Oakland, California. Part of the Impact HUB network of co-working spaces around the country, Oakland’s Youth Impact program is the first of its kind in the network’s more than 60 locations. The program provides guidance and training regarding things like continuing education, job seeking and entrepreneurship.

Part of this initiative is the HUB’s year-long fellowship program, which teaches social entrepreneurship to youths between the ages of 16 and 24 who face economic barriers.

Last year, which was the the program’s first, 16 young people were selected based on an application and interview process. They were then matched with business mentors from the community and challenged to create business plans, goals and objectives. At the end of the program, participants had the opportunity to pitch their ideas for the chance to receive seed funding to start their projects.

Amanda Greene, co-director of Youth SEED, one of the local organizations that partners with Youth Impact HUB Oakland told the Huffington Post:

“We provide the platform for young folks who lack resources to become the leaders they have the potential and passion to be. It’s really clear to us that to have a sustainable future and have social equity in it, we have to engage young people.”

This type of program has the potential to make a huge impact on the Oakland community and its young people. Technology has made entrepreneurship more and more accessible to the young, even those who haven’t finished or attended college. But there are still a lot of resources that can make starting and running a business a lot easier. And those who live in low-income areas or face other economic barriers could be turned away from entrepreneurship because of those hardships.

So programs like the HUB in Oakland can make the dream of starting a business more reachable for those young people. Good ideas aren’t exclusive to the people who have the resources to make them a reality. So by giving young people more of a chance to make their business ideas happen, a lot more business and social good is possible.

Image: Youth Impact HUB

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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