A “community of builders with integrity”, Venture for America (VFA) creates economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs. Through a two-year fellowship program, recent college graduates learn important startup skills at a five-week Training Camp, apply for jobs within VFA’s vetted company network, and work for two years as full-time, salaried fellows at startups in one of 18 U.S. cities. When Fellows are ready to start a company—be it two years after college or ten—VFA has the resources (like a crowdfunding competition, accelerator and seed fund) to help make that dream a reality.
VFA is headquartered in New York City and began its Birmingham Fellowship in 2015. The Community Foundation’s $9,000 grant supported VFA Birmingham’s first Job Fair. The goal of the Job Fair was to attract and vet Fellows and employer partners. The success of the event was directly correlated to the number of participating potential employer companies and Fellows who visited Birmingham and experienced our vibrant city center.
Over 75% of the visiting 43 Fellows and participating 15 companies had never before stepped foot in the city of Birmingham. VFA’s Director of the Southeast Region, Sara Williamson, said it was an incredible moment hearing new and veteran entrepreneurs from across the country in awe of our great city, stating, “If I had known this was Birmingham, I would have visited sooner.” The Job Fair provided VFA the platform to showcase Birmingham in a way that left a lasting positive impression of our Magic City on the visiting Fellows and companies. Since this first Job Fair, the number of VFA Fellows and employer partners have grown in Birmingham. The 2017 VFA Birmingham Fellow cohort was the largest class in the nation and Birmingham is ranked number one for city with the happiest Fellows!
Thank you for supporting this grant to recruit talented and innovative individuals and companies to our region!
To learn more about Venture for America, Birmingham’s Fellows and employer partners, please visit their website: Venture For America