Today's special post comes from Alum Rafael De Armas and details an exciting opportunity for UM students and alumni.
Some people (including me) dream of making an impact on the world and creating something of value. We come to school to prepare for the “working world,” but some of us want to take it a step further; we want to start companies of our own. I came to college to do just that, but found it was hard. Getting access to training, mentorship and resources at this age can be next to impossible.
Luckily, I heard about Venture for America (VFA).
In 2011, serial entrepreneur and VFA founder Andrew Yang started this nonprofit fellowship program with the goal of creating a path for college students who want to become entrepreneurs. And recently, I was selected as one of Venture for America’s Fellows for the Class of 2015.
As VFA Fellows, we get training and join a startup in an emerging US city, where we’ll live and work for two years at one of hundreds of partner companies. We’ll learn hands-on what it takes to build a company, while getting mentorship, a network, and ongoing support to prepare us to become successful entrepreneurs. For me, I hope this gets me one step closer to my goal of starting my own venture.
In November, I traveled to New York for the last round of the VFA application process. Meeting the other applicants, along with the Fellows, team, and supporters, confirmed what I already knew: joining Venture for America was definitely what I wanted to do right after college. I couldn’t believe it a few days later when I got the call from Andrew Yang to tell me I had been accepted!
I’ll get to meet my fellow Fellows this summer at our 5-week training program at Brown University and will begin to find my job in March. At this point, I still don’t know in which city I am going to work or in what field, but whether it’s software development or business, I’m excited for whatever comes. Throughout the year, VFA finds great high-growth companies across the US with founders who are excited to have a VFA Fellow join them. By working at one of these ventures, I know I am going to get the experience I need to be an entrepreneur.
Even though I’m the first VFA Fellow from University of Miami, I know I’m not the only Cane with the goal of becoming a company founder. If you feel you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, I encourage you to apply to be a Venture for America Fellow.
There are still two more deadlines left on January 12thand March 2nd.
If you have questions or want to hear about my experience feel free to reach out to me. Let’s get more University of Miami students building things!
Rafael De Armas