Join us in supporting underrepresented young adult entrepreneurs. We provide one-on-one business mentoring, entrepreneurship training, and access to startup funding to help our entrepreneurs build their business dreams.
By the Numbers
We’ve secured substantial initial funding.
We have raised over $4m in grant funding from corporations, foundations, and individuals, including world-leading companies like Accenture and eBay.
The skysthelimit.org platform is live and ready to scale quickly.
Our team of 15+ software developers and designers have written over 50,000 lines of code to build and deploy our platform. Live now for over 18 months, we've created a compelling and valuable experience.
We've made an impact and built businesses
We have helped launch or grow over 150 young adult-led businesses, which have created 250+ jobs and generated millions of dollars of revenue all across the country.
There is major demand for our services.
With over 13,000 users are on our platform, and roughly 1,000 added in the past 30 days, we're growing fast.
While many brick-and-mortar entrepreneurship programs exist for kids or the general adult population, we are the only national program focused on the unique needs of underrepresented young adult entrepreneurs.
Our Nationwide Community
Over 13,000 young entrepreneurs and volunteers in over 40 states.
Note: We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Oakland, CA (EIN# 27-4333255). We are doing business as skysthelimit.org though we are also known as Youth Business USA.
Brianna, founder of Catrina's Popcorn
Brianna joined skysthelimit.org in 2015. Brianna was born to be an entrepreneur. By the age of twelve she had sold various products, from donut holes to pens, and even ice cream. As a teen, her life took an unexpected turn when she was trafficked by an exploiter throughout California. She escaped in 2012 and has since dedicated her life to educating other ladies about the warning signs of human trafficking.
“My dream is to empower young people and victims of trafficking by showing them no matter what you have experienced, you can always overcome it. I am living proof.” - Brianna
When Brianna first came to skysthelimit.org, she was eager to start a business of some kind. She spent many hours over six months at the white board with her business advisor thinking through different business ideas and clarifying her direction before she decided to carry on her family’s legendary popcorn recipe and launch Catrina’s Popcorn.
“It was really helpful to get Bo’s support thinking through my business ideas. It helped me clarify my goals and settle on a direction for my business.” - Brianna
She was then introduced to skysthelimit.org volunteers, Sylvia and Michael, who were excited to find an opportunity where they could work together as a couple to help others by offering their own experience as entrepreneurs. The three of them started their journey together working on the marketing and packaging for Catrina’s Popcorn. They then moved on to her pricing and sales strategy as Brianna prepared to launch her first line of corn.
“One of the things that Sylvia and Michael have really helped me with is putting a dollar value on my time. Time is money.” - Brianna
Brianna launched her business selling bags of popcorn at a skysthelimit.org holiday fair in 2016. She has sold tens of thousands of dollars of popcorn, and is working on a business proposal for another business idea — building business kits for kids and survivors of human trafficking to build their own businesses.
“This is one of the hardest things I've done. I wasn't sure where to go and the mentorship has been super helpful. They have also become life mentors. They have provided incredible emotional support to me through some tough times.” - Brianna
Sylvia and Michael continue to work with Brianna when she needs business help, or just to meet over a meal and share life’s ups and downs.
“I have gotten so much satisfaction from seeing someone else grow. It's been really inspirational. It's also inspiring to me to think about other businesses - it helps me with my own business.” - Sylvia
In 2018, Brianna received a business grant for $2,500 from skysthelimit.org’s Friends and Family Fund to help her grow her business, as she aims to get her popcorn into stores, such as Whole Foods. Brianna’s business employs two people now, and she has big plans for the future! Check her company out at www.CatrinasPopcorn.com
The Problem and Opportunity
There is a youth unemployment crisis.
18 to 29 year olds have the highest underemployment rate since World War II, and the number of college grads working minimum wage jobs is at its highest rate ever. (AP, US Census, BLS) “America’s unemployed youth will cost an estimated $4.7 trillion over their lifetimes in lost revenue, welfare, crime and health care expenditures.” (White House Council)
Startups—the main drivers of job creation—are dying.
Over 60% of all net new jobs come from startups, but only half as many businesses are being created today as a generation ago. (SBA, Kauffman Foundation) Increasing opportunities and exposure to innovation for poor, women, black, and Latino youth could quadruple the number of innovators in the US. (Equality of Opportunity Project)
Over 11 million young adults from underrepresented communities in the United States want to start a business, but lack the support and resources to do so. (SBA, Kauffman Foundation) Over 10 million professionals want to volunteer their time and talents to help others succeed. (LinkedIn Research)
There is a massive opportunity to connect young entrepreneurs with skilled volunteers at scale on a digital platform, helping build the next generation of business owners.
The focus of skysthelimit.org's work is developing the social capital of our young entrepreneurs.
We are a tech nonprofit, leveraging a digital platform to make meaningful connections from anywhere. Young entrepreneurs (ages 18 - 29) are digital natives, and experienced entrepreneurs & professionals are busy and not always located where the need is. Our remote advising and mentorship opportunities allow volunteers to connect with young entrepreneurs in a way that is both convenient and effective.
How it works on skysthelimit.org's platform
Entrepreneurs and volunteers signup on skysthelimit.org's web app, and complete their profile. Their profiles tell us what support they are looking for, and what support they can offer, respectively.
Our team reviews every profile to screen and select a curated, high-quality, values-aligned community of entrepreneurs and volunteers.
Training on our mentoring and entrepreneurship methodologies is provided via weekly webinars and elearning resources.
Entrepreneurs and volunteers choose who to match with on our platform by looking at each other's profiles, sending messages, and getting our data-driven recommendations. Entrepreneurs can also make valuable peer-to-peer matches.
Our team supports all the one-on-one matches made on our platform, leveraging a private in-app rating system so that every member of our community can tell us how their matches are going.
Startup grants up to $2,500 through skysthelimit.org's Friends and Family Fund provide much-needed capital to eligible young entrepreneurs. Winners are voted on via the platform and selected by the community monthly.
Our Three Core Services...
Training: young adult-adapted entrepreneurship learning pathways by content area, industry, stage, etc.
Advising & Mentoring: we recruit, screen, train, match, and support young entrepreneurs & volunteers in one-on-one, flexible, and meaningful engagements.
Funding: risk-tolerant startup grants for young entrepreneurs (under development in 2018).
Skills Development: hard & soft skills, mindset development, confidence, awareness, and knowledge.
Opportunity: sales opportunities, business resources, connections, and capital.
Leading to Impact
New businesses and jobs created by underrepresented young entrepreneurs in underserved communities.
Employability and life outcomes improved through practical business experiences and increased social capital.
Co-Founder and CEO
Co-Founder and Chairman