With 50 percent of new college grads out of work or underemployed, the Young Entrepreneur Council believes that the key to ending youth unemployment is to make it easier for young adults to start their own businesses.
#FixYoungAmerica is a YEC initiative that has culminated in an eBook containing their solutions for solving our nation’s youth unemployment crisis. The solutions include student loan forgiveness for young entrepreneurs, opening up crowdfunding to small businesses, and increasing access to capital for young founders.
The YEC is a non-partisan organization, but founder and President Scott Gerber says “our goal will certainly be to raise our voices during the election.”
A major barrier for young entrepreneurs is overcoming their own student loan debt. In the United States, educational debt surpassed $1 trillion this year. For aspiring founders, acquiring the capital needed to start their business is hard to come by when they’re unable to pay off their student loans.
One of the #FixYoungAmerica-endorsed solutions is to put student loan forgiveness programs in place for young entrepreneurs, similar to those for public employees. But Gerber emphasizes that any loan forgiveness or deferment program for entrepreneurs “should be milestone driven.”
Already, the YEC has enjoyed success in Washington, with two major components of its agenda advancing through Congress. The first, $35 million in Self-Employment Assistance was championed by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), which enables unemployment insurance recipients to use their unemployment benefits as they build a business.
The bipartisan JOBS Act, which incorporated a bill authored by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) that eliminates government regulations prohibiting crowdfunding for small businesses, was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year. Gerber stresses that crowdfunding — the ability of many small investors to band together — is a “major component” in opening up young entrepreneurs’ access to capital.
With youth employment at a 60-year low, YEC believes that the key to getting young America back to work is “to spark an entrepreneurial revolution.”