Want to help grow a startup while also having job and salary security? Good news — there’s an org for that.
Venture for America matches recent college graduates with startups and growing tech companies to get them exposure to building a company from the ground up, minus the risk that comes from trying to do that alone. The idea is to give fellows (as the program calls its participants) a chance to experience entrepreneurship in a hands-on way, and hopefully encourage them to continue that approach to business throughout their careers. Founded in 2011, Venture for America has so far worked with over 1,300 fellows — 29% of whom have gone on to start businesses — and over 450 company partners.
Recently Venture for America launched an accelerator for companies founded by program alumni. The four-month virtual cohort is helpful a handful of of early-stage companies address specific business challenges through mentorship, networking and other resources. The six companies in its 2021 accelerator includes bubuleh, a sustainable and genderless clothing brand founded by 2016 alum Jordan Star, who previously worked at Pittsburgh’s CivicScience.
The program has other Pittsburgh ties in the companies where it places fellows: Four local companies will host Venture for America fellows this year, three of which have ties to the tech industry. Here are the fellows who will be working in Pittsburgh for the next two years, along with their company placements and schools:
- Ryan Hopson, Adrich, Mississippi State University
- Vance Wood, Adrich, Johns Hopkins University
- Connor Coddington, Confirmed, Florida Polytechnic University
- Xander Dyer, Confirmed, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- Zoe Schack, DeepLocal, University of Southern California
- Steve Dierkes, Revival Enterprises, College of William and Mary
Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments. -30-