Venture for America will help you build your dream career

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

My career found me. Now that I’m working full-time on my startup, it’s amazing to me that I even imagined doing anything else. I studied entrepreneurship and music technology at Carnegie Mellon, and I’m the business development guy at my music tech startup. It’s like I picked this career path when I applied to this school.

Simply put, I love what I do. The existential crises of junior year — when I didn’t know how to make my career revolve around music — have vanished now that I wake up every morning with the intent of changing the way music is made in 2015, our mantra here at the office.
I truly am blessed to have found my incredible co-founders, all of whom share my passion and drive for helping musicians work together, and that we were able to start a company together.

But I’m one of the lucky ones. Not everyone finds their calling in college. In fact, I think most people don’t. It’s incredibly easy to get funneled into the typical paths for your major, as that’s where a lot of people will guide you, but those avenues don’t necessarily represent the best way to fulfill your passion. If those paths seem unsatisfying, consider entrepreneurship.

While it may seem daunting to forego the security of a traditional career path to push the boundaries of innovation forward, the entry barriers to starting a company have never been lower than they are now. After reading last week’s article about Teach for America, I felt compelled to write about Venture for America, one organization that’s lowering the barriers to entry for college students seeking to get involved in entrepreneurship.

Like Teach for America, Venture for America Fellows are recent college graduates who do a two-year fellowship at a startup, rather than a school. Venture for America’s mission is to help bring startup culture to cities that are struggling to keep their economies afloat. Venture for America Fellows won’t be going to the Bay Area, but instead will spend their fellowship in cities like Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Las Vegas, or Miami.
Venture for America picked these cities because it turns out entrepreneurship is really good for the economy.

Every year, existing businesses hemorrhage jobs and opportunity, and it’s up to new businesses to create more jobs than existing business lose. New business activity is the source of the majority of the economic growth in the country, and the prosperity that we all share as Americans was created by generations of enterprising entrepreneurs building off each other’s successes. Venture for America was created to bring the prosperity that comes with entrepreneurship to areas that are underserved by the innovators that they need.

The best part about Venture for America, though, is the work you’ll be doing and the people you’ll be with. I’ve worked at three startups now, and each time I’ve noticed that the people I’m around are some of the most driven, talented, and passionate people I’ve ever met.

Better yet, they’re all committed to changing the world in some way. Relay Network is changing the way that companies communicate with their customers. Clutch is changing the way that companies engage their customers. My latest company, Nebulus, is changing the way people make music.
As a Venture for America Fellow, you’ll be doing irreplaceable, impactful work in an organization that is seeking to shape the world in its image, all while helping revitalize an urban environment that’s desperately in need of your talent. You also get to pick the domain of the startup where you’re placed, so you can make sure you’re working on a company that’s full of people who see the world the way you do.

As you move forward through Carnegie Mellon, seeking fulfillment and career advancement, consider joining Venture for America. Your talents can make a massive difference in your startup, your community and, eventually, change the world for the better.