There are 1 billion youth living in the world today. Of them, 85% are in the developing world, often in urban slums, and youth make up 50% of all unemployed people on the planet. Some label this population “generation lost” — hopeless, depraved, and a precarious group of ticking time-bombs.
But a non-profit organization started by two determined millennials see them in a different light. In 2009, they started Generation Enterprise (GEN), a global network of business labs that launches startups in low-income communities. Not only that, but they managed to start it in their free time while at prestigious consulting firm McKinsey and Company.
What’s their trick to exponential growth since?
CEO Clara Chow says that in order to a build sustainable, engaged volunteer base, you must ensure each volunteer is personally and professionally developing as much as they’re giving back. In other words, balance these benefits with the philanthropic output you seek. Let them turn hobbies into experiences they can leverage in their own careers.
With this philosophy at heart, it makes sense that the majority of GEN’s staff are ambitious young professionals with a full spectrum of career-paths. A dear friend and colleague, Helen McCann, recently told me of her story with GEN, and how she turned volunteering into a key career asset over time. After over a year of volunteer service, Helen is now serving as GEN’s Chief of Staff while still holding down her full-time desk job.
Check out this short clip on how GEN’s work is solving for a very big question: how do you solve youth unemployment in low-income communities?