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03 Mar
  • By Nicole Ruccolo

United Roots is Gearing up for Fellowship Pitch Day!

Youth Impact Hub is a Bay Area Organization whose mission is to support the leadership of low-income youth of color in creating an equitable, life-affirming economy by providing socially innovative training, collaborative co-working space and access to networks and resources. Their vision is to ensure creativity and self-determination of Oakland youth are nurtured and fully utilized through social innovation, creating communities that are equitable, thriving and in harmony with the natural ecosystem.

The organization has set up the “Youth Hub Fellowship,” a year long social enterprise incubation training program for low-income youth ages 18-24 to create enterprise projects that increase personal income and directly address problems in the communities.

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Here is my interview with Gino, the Co-Founder & Co-Director of Youth Impact Hub.

What are some new and exciting things happening for Youth Impact Hub in 2018?

Every year is exciting because we have a new group of students each year for our “Youth Hub Fellowship” program. Specifically May 24, we have our students in the program presenting their ideas to the board. This is their opportunity to present their creations and get the funding needed to start their dreams.

Between now and then we working with them every week so that they are prepared to present. There are 11 teams this year so 17 young people who are working in community on their own individual projects and supporting one another and collaborating.

What happens after they present in May?

They get the funding they need to start their businesses and they are out in the community seeing their work come to fruition. We enter the implementation stage and meet with them once a month. In the meeting we are going over what the were the successes and challenges of each month.

This will go all the way through the end of the calendar year and in December we have a marketplace event where by that time they will have developed some sort of prototype or their product or service. Here, people in the community come in and can either hire them for a service or they buy their product. This is our second biggest event of the year.

What are some of the products or services this year?

First let me start by saying that the primary purpose of each product or service is to have a positive social impact on the community. So every team is working to better the community at Youth Impact Hub.

This year there is a young man that does sneaker restoration but it is much more than what it seems. He is trying to keep sneakers out of the landfill and have the community in the Bay Area save money by simply resorting their sneakers at a lower price. There is another shoe related platform where three siblings have joined together to create a service where individuals can donate running shoes to athletic teams.

There are also many teams that are trying to create a platform that support local artists. Young people in low income communities don’t have access or opportunities to perform or make money off of their art and creativity. These platforms are designed to change the narrative.

What does the application process look like for the youths that are presenting these projects?

It’s mostly through word of mouth. We start our outreach in September and select the teams by December. There is an interview process and the vast majority of the youths applying get into the program.

What is something new you are doing this year?

We just launched a “Youth Makerspace” which is essentially a space where our teams can work on their projects. There is equipment space and storage and also the teams can simply utilize that space as their working office.

If you are looking to get involved with an organization in 2018 –  Youth Impact Hub is up to some amazing things this year. From their team presentations to their marketplace, this organization is giving Bay Area youths an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and become successful entrepreneurs.

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