This Labor Day the Young Entrepreneur Council kicked off its next big program to get young people interested in entrepreneurship. #StartupLab is the latest initiative from the YEC — a new online space where beginning entrepreneurs can learn from mentors and forge their next big idea.
The free program is looking to give young people the resources they need to get started on their own businesses. The YEC has paired with Citi to provide weekly video Q&As featuring big name business owners, open mic sessions where beginners can voice their concerns, and a wealth of business knowledge in the form of how-to guides and publications.
YEC CEO Scott Gerber said the development of the program solidified over the past few months, where entrepreneurs were sent into the field and saw a huge demand for free online resources. According to Gerber, #StartupLab will add a much-needed social layer to already existing platforms, providing a space where entrepreneurs can communicate and work together in a global forum.
#StartupLab isn’t just for first-time entrepreneurs looking to start a business, said Gerber. The CEO believes that any entrepreneur, at any level of building their company, can benefit from the resources provided by the online program. “Anyone that has an idea or a business can benefit from the experience — of the kind of people they will have access to in the program,” said Gerber. “The value is access to experience.”
The new program follows the YEC’s #FixYoungAmerica campaign, which sought to encourage recent college graduates to seek out the entrepreneurial path in light of rampant unemployment rates. “We need to do everything we can to truly allow people to experience this,” Gerber said. “It may be their only option.”
Gerber praised the support of Citi in the formation of #StartupLab, calling their participation a “change in the old school way of thinking.” In the future the YEC has plans to expand the online experience of #StartupLab by adding mentorship matching and wikis that will collect knowledge from the best practices across the entire startup ecosystem.
When asked about a possible funding program, a logical third step to the initiative, Gerber said that the YEC will continue to explore ways of helping young entrepreneurs. “We’re working with Citi very hard to think of all different kinds of ways to engage,” said Gerber. “All I can say right now is: more soon.”