Venture for America is Miami-bound



Venture for America is on the move: to Miami.

The national nonprofit group recruits top-caliber recent college graduates and sends them to startups looking for talent. VFA focuses on communities with promising high-growth companies and a low cost of living — ideal places for a young person to launch a career while creating value for a growing company.

“Our mission is to revitalize American cities via entrepreneurship. We want to see more of our best and brightest building things,” said Elisabeth Deogracias, VFA’s corporate development manager. “We’ve designed an efficient and effective process.”

VFA believes one of the best ways to accelerate the path to entrepreneurship for young graduates is through apprenticeship. Fellows who are accepted are part of a two-year fellowship that starts with a five-week boot camp. Each is hired as a full-time employee by a company in one of the VFA cities for $38,000 a year plus benefits. VFA is now readying its  3rd class of Fellows.

“We were inspired by the work of the Knight Foundation and overwhelmed by the momentum of the community in Miami. We spent some time with startups at The LAB Miami, and what we heard is that access to talent is a barrier to growth for many of these companies. We are a pipeline of vetted talent,” Deogracias said.

The companies that will draw the fellows will be vetted also, she said. VFA is looking for high-growth companies with strong leadership and an enticing role for a fellow. To that end, VFA is holding a meetup Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at The LAB Miami in Wynwood and invites Miami startups looking to grow their teams or learn more about the VFA.

VFA was founded in 2011, and its first two classes of fellows are already at work in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Providence, Detroit, Cincinatti, Baltimore, Philadephia and Cleveland. In 2014, it’s adding Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbus, Ohio, and San Antonio in addition to Miami.

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