Youth in low-income emerging market communities are unable to earn sustainable livelihoods. There just aren't enough jobs. Youth end up "reluctant entrepreneurs," hustling in the informal sector. As a result, They live in poverty. They're unable to fully contribute their talents to the economic growth of their communities. They're vulnerable to exploitation. They're target recruits for criminal activity, whether it's a local gang or terrorist cell. That's a loss for all of us.
We looked at startup incubators, P&G's "growth factories, and Edison's lab. Repeated pilot projects and 300 youth later, we've got a model that works with local at-risk youth to map their communities' needs, then rapidly prototype and test ideas for breakthrough community businesses. As our portfolio companies grow, they will employ other at-risk youth, driving economic growth from within.
We want to take our programs on the road. Help us turn a "ticking time bomb" into a positive "youthquake!" In addition to growing our current portfolio of successful startups beyond the micro level (fewer than 10 employees), we want to expand our impact in Lagos and New Delhi, and open our business labs in new regions. Our approach can have an incredible impact on street youth and their families, on the fellow youth they employ, and on the local economy that they are contributing to.