According to the SBA, small businesses account for about 64% of all new jobs created in this country. Entrepreneurship stimulates job growth, creates new opportunities in cities that need them, and makes people better versions of themselves. But, there is no clear path to entrepreneurship. Venture for America is changing that through their fellowship program, which helps fill the “talent gap” for entrepreneurial communities by matching recent graduates at startups in cities with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems. The startups where Fellows work have created more than 2,000 new jobs over the last five years.
Meet the current VFA fellows funding their ideas on Indiegogo:
Revival Chili’s business is simple: create job opportunities for ex-convicts by selling delicious chili out of a food truck. Cooked up by Jordan Robarge:
“As a result of my personal experience trying to find a job with a conviction, I began to understand the large problem many citizens face with a criminal record. We hope to change the negative connotations associated with ex-convicts and build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. With Revival Chili, we are creating a living, entrepreneurship classroom.” Grab some chili and change a life here:
Interim Apparel makes clothes that speak louder than words. These tees are designed for people to express their support of inclusivity and diversity in America. Designed and inspired by Sherouk Omara:
“I’ve unfortunately gotten used to hearing Muslims bashed over and over in the media, but now an actual presidential candidate was using hateful rhetoric to advance his campaign. As a Muslim, sometimes I can’t help feeling a little helpless. What do I do?! I march, I give money, I exist. I make sure to tell everyone I’m Muslim so that when they think of “us”, they envision “me”, not “terrorists”. I figured it was about time I do something a little more public, and so the idea came to design shirts that stand for something I believe.” Share your values and beliefs here.
Wanderlust Box is your subscription to the world, the perfect way for you to sample cultures from different cities around the globe. Created by Bethany Stachenfeld:
“What does the concept of “romance” mean in different cultures? How do people “play” all over the world? What is unique to a specific location that could be appreciated elsewhere? These are all themes that are incorporated into Wanderlust Boxes, so as I travel and discover for myself, I can share the stories with subscribers everywhere. I want to create value and be a positive impact on people’s lives.” Subscribe to a world of excitement here.
Sweat Seal is an adhesive underarm shield that prevents sweat stains. Invented by Frederick Adenuga:
“From tables to toothbrushes, I’m beyond fascinated by how these products were thought of and made real. I love process of turning ideas into physical goods. From sketching, to CAD designing, to 3D Printing, the entire creation process around consumer products energizes me and is what I dream of doing all my life! Sweat Seal aims to be a smarter solution for people wanting to prevent sweat stains. Sweating is natural, deodorants aren’t.” Solve your sweat problems here.
Hometeam is an athleisure streetwear brand that fosters tangible civic pride and engagement by benefitting organizations driving local economic development. Designed by Alyssa Gill:
“I was interested in starting up a t-shirt side hustle, and wanted to incorporate my passion for cities while pursuing an idea with a social mission. Through its success, Hometeam will encourage other apparel companies to give back to the countries, natural landmarks, and other places featured on their products.” Show your civic pride here.
Ohio From Above is a drone video and photography company dedicated to telling Ohio’s story through affordable and beautiful aerial content. Captured and imagined by Taylor Weese:
“The first time I sent this small robot four hundred feet into the air and looked through the view on my phone, I felt a swarm of butterflies in my stomach. I knew immediately that I wanted to share these views with as many people as possible.” View Ohio from above here.
Emile uses weekly goals, check-ins, and reminders to help you string together small wins that help you get to bed early and sleep more. Dreamed up by two self-improvement buffs turned bot designers: Nazli Danis and Charlie Molthrop:
“Since starting Emile, we’ve become obsessed with how to use technology to change people’s lives. We all have a vision of our better selves as marathon runners, writers, yogis etc but most of us aren’t good at not letting life get in the way. Emile helps you take the very first step towards that vision.” Make time for the things you care about here.
Pollo Con Leche Productions is a full-service production company that creates branded films to help startups, nonprofits and other companies market themselves better. Imagined by Jon Galpern and Austin Crouse.
“Pretty quickly on we noticed that there is strong demand from small businesses, startups and nonprofits for high-quality video in our city of New Orleans. We want to be the ones to provide that service and tell stories that bring people together. With the right equipment, we can focus on what matters most: satisfying our clients’ video cravings.” Get your story told through video here.
Passion Over Pay is a crowdfunded book that highlights individuals working on passion projects that benefit others. Created by Mark Bennett:
“In our society that glamorizes the sharing economy and peer-to-peer services, passion projects are overshadowed by flashy startups and competitive for-profit businesses. We want to bring attention to the less sexy projects — both to give their creators some well-deserved recognition, and to help them spread the word.” Recognize the value of artists, programmers, makers and others here.
Bridge is a nonpartisan tool that exposes online news readers to different viewpoints. Bridge will recommend an article on a similar topic from a different angle, with the mission of drawing more informed solutions across multiple viewpoints. Cultivated by Pamela Taylor
“Despite being an avid news reader, I found myself unable to properly defend my ideals when speaking to family members who have different political leanings from me. I realized it was because I was reading largely one-sided articles. I wanted to create something that would seamlessly integrate into users’ current news reading habits so they could understand issues more completely and have an idea about what others are reading.” Stay informed here.
See the full collection of VFA fellows inventions here and support a young entrepreneur today!