Venture for America, the nonprofit that places college graduates in two-year commitments with startup companies nationwide, will expand to Baltimore in 2013, according to Mike Tarullo, VFA’s director of corporate development.
“I think it’s a cool city,” he says. “People can live here, spend their careers here.”
Tarullo says there are many reasons why the organization chose Baltimore for expansion, including growth in the quantity of startup companies and city institutions that are committed to supporting entrepreneurship — like, he says, the Abell Foundation. He also pointed to companies that started in Baltimore and expanded to other cities, like Millennial Media.
“You can bring resources and capital here,” Tarullo says. “It’s been proven that it can be done.”
VFA, founded by Andrew Yang, will celebrate its first birthday on Wednesday. In 2011, it set up shop in five cities: Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and Providence, R.I. The program, modeled after Teach for America, “will provide a path for entrepreneurship to college grads who want to learn how to build companies and create jobs,” according to the organization’s website. By 2025, Venture For America hopes to have created 100,000 new jobs across the U.S.
In addition to Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, and New Haven, Conn., will become VFA city partners in 2013.
The ultimate goal? To recruit talent to Baltimore, and give them enough of a reason to stick around to build their own companies, Tarullo says.
“If everybody comes here for two years, and then goes to business school, we did not do our jobs.”