National fellowship program Venture for America is hoping to boost regional startups with an infusion of new talent.
VFA, a two-year program for recent college graduates who want to learn how to build businesses, is planning one of its four regional job fairs Friday in Kansas City.
The group — which launched in Kansas City in 2016 — is bringing more than 20 members of its incoming class of 2018 fellows to interview with startups based in Kansas City and St. Louis from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday at WeWork Corrigan Station. The fellows hail from such esteemed universities as Stanford, Yale, Washington University, Duke and Cornell.
“We are excited to make this a breakout year for Kansas City and the program by bringing together ground floor startups and emerging growth companies with our 2018 class,” said Colleen Jenkins, VFA’s director of Kansas City. “Members of the KC startup community have come together like lightning and rallied a ton of support around VFA. … We’ll look forward to showcasing the city and burgeoning ecosystem, and seeing the many meaningful connections that will come through this event.”
To become a fellow, students undergo five weeks of intensive training and professional development in which they learn from experts, entrepreneurs and industry leaders so they are ready to add value to their startups from Day 1, Jenkins said. Fellows then spend two years working at their startups, serving as core team members while learning first-hand how to contribute to a growing company.
Since its launch in 2011, Venture for America has contributed to the creation of more than 2,000 jobs in its partner cities, which include St. Louis, Denver, San Antonio and others.
While Kansas City is VFA’s newest market, it shows great promise to be a key hub for the organization, Jenkins said. With support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, VFA Kansas City plans to increase the cohort sizes in 2018, build a regional board and further ingrain itself into the community, she added.
To participate in the job fair, click here.