Guiding youngsters on their entrepreneurial journey

Balance HR is a proud partner of YouthStart, a nonprofit organization that helps young people of diverse backgrounds kickstart their professional lives through free courses in entrepreneurship. Our common goal? Better work for all. This is the story of our collaboration.

Developing talents and business skills

YouthStart aims to boost young people’s confidence and help them become entrepreneurs of their own lives. During the course, professional coaches invite opportunity-seeking youths and young adults aged 16 to 30 to develop their talents and business skills. Participants turn their ideas into a business plan, based on their interests. Additionally, the youngsters learn how to present themselves and pitch like a professional.

“The collaboration between YouthStart and Balance HR took shape in 2016”, says Edward Vanhoutte, founder of Balance HR. “Together, we set up a mentorship for YouthStart alumni who want to explore the world of work and enterprising. Professionals from our network volunteer to guide former participants in applying their skills, vision, and business ideas.”


Mentoring as a win-win for all

YouthStart, in close collaboration with its partners, is developing a national approach to provide even better guidance to its alumni. The roll-out is due in 2023. Edward: "Our shared objective is to further increase youngsters' activation rate."

"On average, 47% of the alumni return to school or start a job or a business immediately after completing the course. One year after completion, another 30% follow suit. These numbers are impressive. But there's no limit to our ambition. That's why Balance HR will soon launch a new call for volunteer mentors."

Does mentorship pay off for the mentors as well? It sure does. Discover the career benefits for mentors in this accessible science summary by ScienceForWork.

Yes, you can teach entrepreneurship

"I first learned about YouthStart through a former employer twenty years ago," says Edward. "In its home country, the USA, the organization is known as NFTE: Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship. The founder's story is truly inspirational. In the early eighties, entrepreneur Steve Mariotti was walking through New York when teenagers robbed him for a mere few dollars. It opened Steve's eyes to the wealth inequality in the city, which inspired him to leave his business career and become a high school teacher in notorious neighborhoods."

"The rowdy classrooms proved challenging to contain. Until Steve discovered he could reach and motivate even his most rebellious students by teaching them how to run a small business. This sparked his idea for NFTE, which he founded in 1987."

"By teaching youngsters the hard and soft skills they need to forge their professional path, NFTE and YouthStart lay the foundation for better work for all," Edward concludes. "Which is exactly what Balance HR's mission is all about."

Support YouthStart. Donate and make a real difference in opportunity-seeking youths' lives.