Venture for America to help strengthen local startups through new talent attraction program with $126,000 from Knight Foundation

Press Release

April 11, 2014

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Top college graduates will help Miami entrepreneurs grow thriving businesses

MIAMI — April 11, 2014 — Venture for America, a national nonprofit that recruits and trains top recent college graduates and offers them placements at leading startups has launched in Miami with $126,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Knight support for the program was announced last night at a Venture for America meet-up held at The LAB Miami co-working in the Wynwood Arts District.

With Knight funding, Venture for America will recruit, select, train and place seven Venture for America Fellows with Miami startups in 2014. These recent college graduates will undergo a five-week training camp at Brown University to hone the skills they need to contribute to high-impact local companies. Once placed, VFA Fellows will serve as core team members, receiving first-hand experience in building a startup, while helping Miami entrepreneurs expand and scale.

“Attracting the best talent and creating an impetus for opportunity in Miami is critical to the city’s success as a rising entrepreneurial hub,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “Venture for America will help bring more top-tier college graduates to Miami, expanding both the city’s talent pool and helping Miami entrepreneurs build thriving, job-creating businesses.”

“We are deeply impressed with how vibrant the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami has become, and we think our fellows can meaningfully contribute to that growth and revitalization,” said Andrew Yang, CEO and founder of Venture for America. “We are incredibly grateful to the Knight Foundation for introducing us to countless entrepreneurs and community leaders, giving us access to the networks our fellows will need to succeed.”

Since its founding in 2011, Venture for America has placed 108 VFA Fellows in eight cities, including Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Providence, R.I. Venture for America partner companies have added an average of 7.2 jobs within a year of hiring a fellow and 66 percent have experienced net job growth.

Both VFA Fellows and startups go through a comprehensive vetting process led by Venture for America. The company matchmaking process typically takes place between March and June of each year. Fellowship applications are accepted in four rounds, beginning in October of each year and concluding the following March. For more information please visit ventureforamerica.org.

The launch of Venture for America in Miami forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and opportunity. Over the past 18 months Knight has made more than 50 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida. 

About Venture for America

Venture for America (VFA) is a nonprofit organization that directs highly talented recent college graduates into startups in U.S. cities with significant human capital needs. By funneling talent into high-growth enterprises, VFA aims to help create 100,000 US jobs by 2025. www.ventureforamerica.org/

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org

CONTACTS:

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]

Megan Hurlburt, Communications and Marketing Manager, Venture for America, 508-265-3030, [email protected]