Creating Entrepreneurship Pathways for Opportunity Youth (event video)


As opportunity youth – the 4.6 million young people ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working – continue to struggle to connect to the economy, entrepreneurship programs may offer a chance to learn the skills and mindset needed to thrive in today’s economy. How do we create entrepreneurship programs tailored to the strengths and the circumstances of opportunity youth? Through the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund (YEF), three communities across the country have launched programs to explore entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic self-determination and wealth-building in low-income communities. The programs take a collaborative approach that brings together entrepreneurship education with wraparound supports and additional services from partners that facilitate access to key elements of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in these communities – including mentorship, business pitch competitions and seed funding, accelerators and incubators, hands-on workplace experience, and internships.

This event will feature two panels, one with leaders from the programs and a second with young adult entrepreneurs from these communities. The conversations will explore emerging learnings from the YEF implementation, including strategies for adapting entrepreneurship curriculum to the unique strengths and needs of opportunity youth; how projects were designed with an equity lens; and strategies for engaging youth voice in the design and implementation of the collaboratives.


  • Joyce Klein Director, Business Ownership Initiative, Economic Opportunities Program
  • Yelena Nemoy Senior Program Manager, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions


  • Ruth Barajas-Cardona Director of Workforce, Education and Reentry Services, Bay Area Community Resources
  • Michelle Carrillo Initiative Director, Building Healthy Communities, Del Norte and Tribal Lands, Wild Rivers Community Foundation
  • Dornella Harvey Project Manager, Year-Round, Philadelphia Youth Network
  • Mali Linton Young Adult Entrepreneur, Bay Area Community Resources