Entrepreneurship Pathways for Youth

Creating Entrepreneurship Pathways for Opportunity Youth: Early Experiences from the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees

Joyce A. Klein and Yelena Nemoy, the Aspen Institute

First published January 2019

As opportunity youth continue to struggle to connect to the economy, entrepreneurship offers a chance for them to learn the skills and mindset needed to thrive in today’s economy. Opportunity youth, the 4.6 million young people who are neither in work nor in school, often encounter significant barriers to education and employment, and entrepreneurship programs may offer solutions to the challenges they face.

Entrepreneurship programs have the potential to help these youth gain the business skills and experience needed to succeed in the working world – whether as entrepreneurs or employees – while also providing wraparound services that help them thrive in their daily lives.

This new report explores the potential for using entrepreneurship to engage and create pathways for opportunity youth, by examining existing entrepreneurship programs and sharing emerging models for creating and adapting entrepreneurship programming targeted to the specific needs and aspirations of opportunity youth.

The report profiles three sites in Del Norte County, California; Philadelphia; and San Francisco that are part of Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, which supports collaborative approaches to explore entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic self-determination and economic equity. The fund was launched by the Forum for Community Solutions with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

This report is a collaboration between the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and FIELD at the Aspen Institute.

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