Gen Y Capital Partners Wants to Help You Start a Business, Despite Student Loan Debt

BE Next: In a nutshell, what is the goal of the Young Entrepreneur Council?

Scott D. Gerber: We at the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) felt there was a need for our peer group to learn how to become an entrepreneur. There’s a powerful brain trust out there that can provide unparalleled mentorship, especially at this point in time in our economy. We’re facing an epidemic of underemployment. Our generation needs to stand up and make strides to solving our problems. No longer can we look at problems the old way.

BE Next: What led the YEC to create Gen Y Capital Partners? And how did the reimbursement of student loans become a part of the strategy?

Scott D. Gerber: We asked young people what their biggest barriers to becoming an entrepreneur was. They told us 3 problems: 1) Student loan debt – In many cases they are paying for an education that they may not even be utilizing due to wrong career choice or being underemployed due to the current economic environment. 2) Not being offered some level of mentorship.  It’s great to read a blog or magazine about entrepreneurship but they didn’t know where to turn for actual hands-on leadership and 3) Becoming “boomerangs” or having to go back home and live with their parents. Usually the parents’ advice ends up being “just get a real job.”

We basically got together and asked, How do we create a gamechanging situation that helps young people tackle entrepreneurship? We formed Gen Y Capital Partners with a holistic approach with the goal this could be a viable solution for young entrepreneurs. First, it combines Pres. Obama’s income-based repayment program with mentorship and forges the ability to achieve success. Second, it allows entrepreneurs to live on college campuses and have access to great business schools where they can attend classes and receive practical skills. Third, we have set up what we call YEC startup villages where entrepreneurs can live on college campuses for free.

All of this while receiving mentorship from entrepreneurs who have walked a similar path and continually successful to this day.

BE Next: You list the following on your Gen Y Capital Partners site as criteria for application:

  • A well-rounded management team with strong business knowledge, especially in the area of their company’s product/service.
  • A product/service and business model that is scalable.
  • 1-2 paying clients.
  • Barriers to entry for competitors.
  • A clear exit strategy.

Are you focusing on any particular sectors?

Scott Gerber: No, we’ll be remaining market agnostic. The YEC base is so widespread that we feel we can assist a diverse group of entrepreneurs and companies in different market sectors without an issue.

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