The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only membership organization comprised of hundreds of the world’s most elite and successful young entrepreneurs.
YEC members hail from every market sector and industry and have, collectively, generated tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.
Our goal is to provide entrepreneurs with access to everything they need to succeed -- today, and in the future.
That's why we connect the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs -- so they can grow their businesses faster, while giving back to aspiring entrepreneurs through #StartupLab, our virtual mentorship program.
Our work has been formally honored by both NASDAQ and The White House, and our organization, team and initiatives have been featured in hundreds of publications like The New York Times, Fortune, CNN, Mashable, Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Tech Crunch, The Washington Post and The Atlantic.
We have been recognized several times over as the most elite entrepreneurship organization in America.
YEC members, who are carefully vetted by existing members, get access to a variety of concierge-like benefits, including a dedicated community management team to facilitate introductions and connections, members-only forums and a mobile app for 24/7 peer-to-peer support, a professional editorial team for PR opportunities, and quarterly in-person events. New products, partnerships and services are rolled out regularly.
Plus, YEC members give back to the startup ecosystem by mentoring tens of thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs every month through our virtual mentorship program, #StartupLab.
The YEC is a highly selective, invite-only group of likeminded peers from nearly every industry. YEC members have access to a community of entrepreneurs just like them, including:
Our dedicated editorial team helps members leverage -- and get published in -- dozens of our media partners, including the most recognizable business publications such as Forbes, Inc., Yahoo!, Read Write, The Huffington Post, VentureBeat, FastCompany, The Washington Post, MSN, Fox Business and dozens more.
With our editorial and community team’s help, YEC members get:
One of the biggest advantages YEC members have is the ability to get advice, deals, discounts and peer-to-peer support anytime, anywhere via our members-only dashboard, app and online community forums. Access business development resources like:
Community management is our top priority. Members can count on the YEC team for concierge-like service, around the clock. Our core team includes:
Our goal is to provide every single member with a unique, personalized experience that helps them grow their networks -- and their businesses.
We’re passionate about the same things you are: namely, improving the startup ecosystem, helping to pave the way for other startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed, grow and give back. YEC offers its members multiple ways to nurture the startup ecosystem (while maximizing their limited time and bandwidth) through #StartupLab, a virtual mentorship program fueled by YEC’s collective brainpower.
YEC members empower other entrepreneurs in several ways:
After an application is filled out, our member selection committee uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative information about a candidate’s business to decide if they are eligible for membership. The YEC is a vetted democracy, in which current members vote on all new members. We don’t share every detail of the selection process, but certain core criteria are explained below.
In order to qualify for YEC membership, the candidate must be an entrepreneur (under 40 at the time of application) on the founding team of an existing business venture -- or past business venture that they have successfully exited from.
We look for businesses with accelerating revenue models and a plan for sustainability or a profitable exit. The typical YEC candidate has either a minimum of $1M annual revenue and/or has secured a minimum of $1M in financing for their current venture(s); while the majority of candidates report significantly higher revenues or financing, these are a good baseline criteria. (Those who do not yet meet these criteria are encouraged to join #StartupLab, our free mentorship program.)
We look for company founders who have been recognized and awarded by reputable organizations for operating successful businesses in their given industry (for example, by Inc. 30 Under 30, Forbes 30 Under 30, Crains 40 Under 40, Business Journals 40 Under 40, Entrepreneur 30 Under 30, among others).
We want our members to be as passionate about giving back to the entrepreneurship ecosystem as we are. We seek out members who have exemplified true leadership in the startup community by giving back through volunteering, investing, donating, mentoring or otherwise.
We look for members who are widely recognized as the thought leaders in their respective industries and look at various contributions each candidate has made online and offline to the larger entrepreneurship brain trust.
Today, Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated business columnist, author (Never Get a “Real” Job) and TV commentator.
But early in his entrepreneurial career, as a college student, he found himself making “every possible mistake one could make as a rookie entrepreneur” -- which led to the failure of his first business.
At that moment, he made a promise to himself: if he ever succeeded in the future, he would work to ensure that no young entrepreneur ever felt alone or struggled without the proper resources again.
Gerber knew he needed candid advice and support from his fellow Gen Y entrepreneurs who’d been there, done that.
Nearly a decade later, with several successful businesses in tow, he realized his vision with the first version of the Young Entrepreneur Council: an informalbrain trust of like-minded peers who wanted to help each other’s businesses grow, while also supporting the millions of aspiring young entrepreneurs just getting started.
“We want to aggregate the best of the best.”
From the start, the YEC was an invitation-only forum to exchange ideas and resources, make high-value connections and provide needed mentorship.
When Gerber met Ryan Paugh -- Brazen Careerist co-founder and “something of a cult legend in the online community-building world” -- they began building out the YEC community on a larger scale.
A few short years later, “the most elite entrepreneurship organization in America” -- to date, the invite-only organization has accepted just a few hundred out of over 11,000 applications -- is helping disrupt business mentorship and the professional business organization model as we know it.
Paying it forward while supporting each other’s growth is integral to YEC’s mission to empower young entrepreneurs, who, across the board, believe that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive -- nor should they be.
To that end, the YEC has led various public campaigns to improve access to and policy around entrepreneurship, from the #FixYoungAmerica grassroots campaign to the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, Gen Y Capital Partners and, most recently, the launch of #StartupLab, a virtual mentorship program (in partnership with Citi) that helps millions of aspiring and current entrepreneurs launch and grow new businesses.
"Everything we do at the YEC is meant to fulfill a social need and promote free enterprise at the same time,” says Gerber.
“If we can create a series of mentorship programs for aspiring entrepreneurs, and unprecedented access to high-level resources and connections for our elite members at the same time, then we’ve achieved something very powerful.”