We’re committed to serving young adult entrepreneurs facing significant barriers to business ownership and living wage jobs.

35+

New Businesses

50+

Young Entrepreneurs

70+

Jobs Created

300+

Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs Trained

OUR THEORY OF CHANGE

When our advisors & mentors share their time and talents with our young entrepreneurs, they’re helping make dreams — and new businesses — a reality.

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS

SKY’S THE LIMIT was launched in response to a crisis of opportunity in the United States. This decade has seen the highest youth unemployment rate since World War Two. The youth unemployment crisis and structural inequities in our socio-economic system have resulted in a lack of economic opportunity for millions of young adults.

Even when hard working young people do find jobs, many are low-income, dead-end ones. Careers and a living wage end up perpetually out of grasp. We don’t just need more jobs, but better ones, to gainfully employ the 80+ million young adults entering or already in the workforce.

According to the ILO, over 50% of young adults who are employed have only temporary or part-time work. The youth unemployment crisis takes a devastating toll on our society. According to the White House Council, America’s unemployed youth will cost an estimated $4.7 trillion over their lifetimes in lost revenue, welfare, crime and health care expenditures.

OUR FOCUS

The Youth Business USA community has a special focus on serving young entrepreneurs ages 18 to 29 who face significant barriers to business ownership.

Our entrepreneurs come from diverse backgrounds and are working hard to make their business ideas a reality — whether they want to be their own boss, invent something new, make money, or make a difference in the world. They are building all kinds of businesses — from clothing lines to catering companies, food trucks to consulting companies, hair stylists to mechanics, entertainment artists to graphic designers.

Whether or not they’ve gone to college, whether or not they have to work other jobs on the side — all of our entrepreneurs are chasing their dreams.

WE CAN DO BETTER

While many programs across the country focus on helping underserved young adults get a job or into college, very few programs exist for helping them start their own businesses. By 2020, more than 40% of workers, most of them young adults, will effectively be entrepreneurs – whether they are self-employed freelancers, Gig Economy workers or Main Street small business owners (research by Intuit, JP Morgan Chase).

The access to resources needed to succeed in entrepreneurship is inequitably distributed, but the talent and determination are everywhere. According to research from the Kauffman Foundation and US Census, over 11 million underserved young adults in the United States say they want to start a business.

For more information, see the Association For Enterprise Opportunity ‘s report: Linking Young Adults to Microbusiness: Providing New Pathways to Economic Opportunity.

YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS

If you’re a young, aspiring entrepreneur, we want to help you find your path and build the right business. We know that starting a business isn’t easy. We’ve been in your shoes — we’re serial entrepreneurs. It takes lots of hard work and persistence. You’re constantly overcoming obstacles. But we understand that sometimes you just HAVE to act on your dreams.

STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITIES

When more young entrepreneurs in our communities achieve their business goals, great things happen. Their new businesses create assets for themselves and good jobs for others. Their products and services clothe, house, transport, clean, and feed us all. They build and shape the very fabric of our communities.

ADVISORS AND MENTORS

If you’re an experienced professional who had help getting to where you are now, you can pay it forward. When you share your time and talents with our young entrepreneurs, you’re helping make dreams — and new businesses — a reality.

We can level the playing field in entrepreneurship together. You can be part of a movement to create hundreds of thousands of businesses led by our emerging young entrepreneurs. We invite you to be part of building a better, more equitable world through entrepreneurship. Talk is cheap, let’s work together and do it.

A business is simply an idea to make other people's lives better. To launch a business means successfully solving problems. Solving problems means listening.

Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and by falling over.

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

SKY’S THE LIMIT

We launched SKY’S THE LIMIT because we believe that the key to empowering our aspiring entrepreneurs is to provide them with the right support, from the right people, at the right time in their entrepreneurial journey.

HOW WE HELP

Here’s what our organization does to help them succeed:

The right support: Classroom-based or online training is a one-size-fits-all approach that fails many learners. That’s why our support is one-on-one, and uses a structured, tested entrepreneurship methodology to help our entrepreneurs achieve their business goals.

The right people: Over 40 million adults in the US say they would seriously consider mentoring. We leverage experienced professionals as business advisors and mentors to deliver this personalized support. Our volunteer advisors and mentors have diverse backgrounds and strong skills — some run small businesses, others work with global corporations such as Accenture, Google, and Lyft.

At the right time: Using a digital platform, we quickly match our young entrepreneurs with the right advisors and mentors to help them solve their most pressing problems. When our entrepreneurs are ready, we also help them find the right funding sources for their business — whether it’s crowdfunding, low interest business loans, or investors.

This combination of support leads to young entrepreneurs developing new skills, broadening their network, accessing more of the right resources — and ultimately achieving their business goals.

Our Co-Founder, Nicolas Cary, writes on the disruptive impact that AI and tech are having on non-profits.

Advising & Mentorship

Our high-quality advisors and mentors provide in-person and virtual support, connections, and specialty help on topics ranging from accounting to law to web design. Our young adult entrepreneur programs connect our entrepreneurs with the right people providing the right support at the right time.

Education

We provide the next generation of small business owners with a young adult-adapted entrepreneurial resources. Our Pathway to Business Ownership provides a framework for building a business, based on Lean Startup and Bootstrapping methodologies. Our program empowers entrepreneurs to build their own businesses – from crafting a pitch, to developing a strong product or service and establishing a customer base.

Funding

When the time comes for our entrepreneurs to launch or accelerate the growth of their businesses, we’re there to help them find the right kind of money for their business – whether it’s loans, investment or crowdfunding.

FOUNDERS

Bo Ghirardelli, MPA

Bo Ghirardelli, MPA

Co-Founder, President & CEO

Bo Ghirardelli leads YBUSA’s day-to-day program, partnerships, operations, fundraising, finance, legal and other organizational management. His previous work before building the highly successful Greenside Development Foundation - Morocco organization included serving as middle school teacher in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles through Teach For America. He also has completed a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington in Nonprofit Management. Additionally, Bo has started and run two small businesses, one of which is an agricultural cooperative that currently employs over 20 people in Morocco.

Nicolas Cary

Nicolas Cary

Co-Founder and Chairman

Nicolas Cary leads the development of YBUSA’s online platform and our board of directors. He is also the co-founder and President of Blockchain, a financial technology company with over 10 million users of its digital platform. As CEO of Blockchain, Nic raised the largest Series A funding round at that time in the FinTech industry. Nic was named “European Digital Leader of the Year” in 2015. The World Economic Forum recognized Blockchain as a 2016 Technology Pioneer - previous awardees include Google & AirBnB.