Venture For America empowers young entrepreneurs in the Detroit community

Inspiration and collaboration were both on display inside a Wayne State conference room Wednesday. 

Prospective entrepreneurs who recently graduated from college are looking to make their dream into something more tangible got a little closer as they met with Venture For America, which is based in Detroit.

The national nonprofit organization provides aspiring entrepreneurs with training, coaching, and connections.

The organization offers a two-year paid fellowship program to its participants, where they find inspiration, collaboration, and support to help level each other up. VFA is made up of a community of 1,600 fellows and alumni. More than 900 companies have hired their fellows.

"Cities like Detroit and Baltimore are really fertile grounds for us to engage and make an immediate difference in the community."  VFA CEO, Eric Somerville said.

The program has a goal to make sure women, people of color, and others who have historically been excluded can envision themselves as entrepreneurs. 

Somerville says making the program accessible is one of the key parts of its success.

Caitlin Jones, a VFA fellowship alum, said being a start-up leader is about building an entrepreneurial mindset and stepping out of one's comfort zone.

"There’s a place for all different types of fellows in the community," Jones said. "Try new things and get to know new people. That’s really what the fellowship is about."