Monday, August 23, 2010

YouthBank in Lagos

Introducing this formidable initiative with a revolutionary vision:

That street youth in the world's biggest cities and most formidable slums can become socially responsible business owners and pull their communities out of poverty.

And guess what, it is run by an all-volunteer group!


YouthBank is a small business incubator connecting street youth (aged 18-28) with the skills, mentors, and resources they need to launch their own businesses and pull themselves out of poverty.

At the heart of YouthBank is a unique business model that delivers impact in two phases:

1. A fellowship phase in which YouthBank Fellows (former street youth) learn business skills on the job as employees in a community business, and
2. An entrepreneurship phase in which high-performing Fellows pitch their own business ideas and receive asset-equivalent microfinance loans and mentorship.

Once their loans are repaid, YouthBank Fellows become independent business owners -- and local employers.

Unlike job training programs that prepare youth for employment, YouthBank prepares its Fellows for entrepreneurship.

Unlike most nonprofits, each YouthBank Center generates its own revenue through a core business, which both offsets operating costs and serves as a living business school classroom for the Fellows.

Throughout, it emphasizes community responsibility: Fellows hold community events to share what they learn, and they commit to hiring and training other street youth as a condition of receiving a loan.