YouthBank is a small business incubator designed to connect street youth (aged 18-28) in the urban developing world with the skills, mentors and resources they need to launch their own community businesses and pull themselves out of poverty.
Unlike other job training programs that prepare street youth for employment, YouthBank prepares its ‘Fellows’ for entrepreneurship, all while emphasizing the values of community responsibility and a commitment to employ and mentor other street youth. Unlike microfinance programs that grant loans without developing business skills, YouthBank trains Fellows in the areas of business (accounting, marketing, etc.), technical (using computers, operating equipment like cameras and projectors), and life management (teamwork, budgeting, saving, communicating) to reduce credit risk and equip them for success. Graduates of the program are able to repay their YouthBank loan, becoming independent owners of thriving small businesses staffed by other former street youth, resulting in multiplicative social impact.
We are the YouthBank team, an all-volunteer group of students, professionals, and community leaders working on four continents to realize one revolutionary vision: that street youth in the world's biggest cities and most formidable slums can become socially responsible business owners and pull their communities out of poverty.