Goal: 1,000,000 Young entrepreneurs (call for volunteers and feedback)

Philanthropy / Start-up
Team Maverick winning the NFTE Ignite Spring Break challenge
Team Maverick winning the NFTE Ignite Spring Break challenge

A few weeks ago I spent the week working with students from the local DC-area NFTE group. (NFTE is the National Federation for Teaching Entrepreneurship). These high school students had given up their Spring Break in order to help consult me and 2 other entrepreneurs on our business challenges.

The challenge I laid out for them was around our stalled Maverick1Million.org platform for young entrepreneurs. I got a lot of great advice from Sabera, Ivonne, Dion, Autumn, Kalan, Nytiah, Shahara and Percell (thanks guys!) and now I want to take it the next level with others engaged on this project.

And now I’m excited to have our new superstar intern, Adam, who is going to be commandeering this project so the time is right to throw this out again and build the 2.0 version of the site.

I’m asking for help for feedback on the project and potential volunteers that want to be involved. But first let me give you a snapshot of what would be included (as of today):

YS-Maverick1MillionLogo-medium

2020 Goal: 1,000,000 Young entrepreneurs, between the ages of 13-23, impacted, engaged and inspired to create or enhance their own business start-up.

Maverick1Million.org is a FREE multi-media platform for online learning, virtual mentoring, community, funding and idea incubation for young entrepreneurs. It consists of the following sections:

  • Maverick Entrepreneur Knowledge Bank –
  • Success Secrets Interviews of successful Maverick1000 members and celebrity business icons (i.e. Sir Richard Branson, Tony Hawk, etc)
  • Tools and additional resources provided by members and partners (i.e. Dan Sullivan’s thinking tools)
  • Maverick Business Blueprints - Step-by-step advice from fellow young entrepreneur Maverick1Million members detailing how to start a particular business. (i.e. everything from a lawn care service, baby sitting business to an iPhone app)
  • Maverick Upstart Platform – This allows young entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas to compete for seed capital through crowdsourced funding. Young entrepreneurs can choose to make their ideas public for wider funding or just private for Maverick1000 members to see, fund and virtually mentor them.
  • Maverick Idea IncubatorMaverick1000 members and other successful entrepreneur mentors have many business ideas that are not the right fit for their current ventures for numerous reasons. But instead of letting these ideas lay dormant they can be uploaded into the Idea Incubator so young entrepreneurs can then develop them. The affinity for the original ideas would drives one-on-one virtual mentoring and possibly even a full pledged partnership as agreed on by both parties.
  • Maverick Q&A – Threaded questions and answers that voted up/down for usefulness about all aspects of business. Becomes a reference guide and living learning tool. (Quora.com or Stackoverflow.com are 2 good examples.)

Why am I building this?
You might be wondering why am I doing all of this? Quite frankly, I believe entrepreneurship is the driving force for innovation, change and value creation in our world. And right now is that incredible golden area where you can start something small and see what happens.

I’ve been incredibly encouraged by research from authorities like the Kauffman Foundation, the largest foundation dedicated to monitoring entrepreneurship. They reported that 2009 had the great number of starts, even exceeded the peak 1999-2000 tech boom.

Now couple that with surveys I’ve seen where the majority of high school students want to have their business instead of getting a job. Plus, mix that in with the social entrepreneurship and “conscious capitalism” I see in many young entrepreneurs ideas and you have an amazing combination.

It’s clear to see entrepreneurship is on the rise but sadly, there’s very little real-world education aspiring business owners would get in school to help guide them.

One of the core DNA’s of my group of Maverick companies is to be that RIPPLE. And what bigger ripple can we create than with the young entrepreneurs. Personally, I get fired up and excited hearing and working with startups.

So if you’re with me, I need some help. In the comments I’d love to hear your thoughts on a few things…

Q: The Name. So first thing first. What do you think of the name? The Maverick1Million name is a reference to the big goal of a 1,000,000 start ups. But we’ve also registered a few other options:

[poll id="3"]

Q: The Platform. After building a much more complicated version in the first version of Maverick1Million.org I want to create something lean and simple to start with. I’m strongly leaning towards the Word Press platform with a host of plugins that should be able to handle a lot of the functionality I want. If you want to dig deep – here’s a mindmap included the sections and plugins I’ve researched. (The #2 in blue means it would a phase II item.)

I don’t know if WP will be the ideal platform to handle the large volume I’d like to grow the site to – but I’m of the opinion that when we get to that point the site/platform will look different and the needs of the users won’t be the same anywhere anyway. I’d rather get something out quick and see what parts are used and what members say they want more of.

Q: What should be included/deleted/featured? The NFTE students really liked the main parts of the site we had outlined. They also thought there should be some sort of way of incorporating the Maverick Business Adventures into an optional experience for the young entrepreneurs so we would consider using a Meetup.com API for that.

But what do you think?

What are the most important elements to be featured? What should be deleted and/or added? If you were 13-23, what would be the most helpful to start your own entrepreneurial venture inside this platform?

Q: How do you track the success of the young entrepreneurs start-ups? One of the biggest parts of this I struggle with is how would you track and measure the success? To me, if a young entrepreneur made $1from the material – I think they’d count towards the goal.

The working idea would be to have a separate spot these members can post their success and perhaps it’s incentivized by a sponsor. (i.e. prove you made your first $1 and you’ll get a free domain from GoDaddy.) But I’m sure there are better ways. Thoughts? Ideas?

And finally…

Call For Volunteers:

Quite frankly I don’t know exactly who we need or what kind of talents. I’m certainly thinking someone well versed in Word Press and membership sites and cool user interface would be a great start from the tech side! If you are inspired and excited about young entrepreneurship and want to be part of building Maverick1Million.org (or whatever its going to be called) I’d love to hear from you. Just drop me a note at teammaverick1million@gmail.com with your name and what skills/talents you bring to the table. Even if its I’m willing to promote the hell out of this thing – I’ll take it!

And please let me know what you think in the comments and drop me a note if you want to help out. I’ll continue posting on the blog the progress and updates.

26 Comments

  1. May 13, 2011, 5:49 am

    what a great idea, I would be happy to help, I sent you an email, and shared the link on Facebook.

  2. May 13, 2011, 9:36 am

    sounds like a plan. i will drop you a line and help in any way i can to be part of the organizing team. let’s do this!

  3. May 13, 2011, 10:39 am

    I think you will be doing the Youth of today the greatest favor by challenging their entrepreneurial instincts and providing a Mentor forum for them to try out things. Get them involved in training one more level and you would be creating the same kind of change that post Great Depression saw with the like of Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill etc brought about, but with the added advantage of on hand practical experience under mentors’ sharp eyes.

  4. May 13, 2011, 10:43 am

    @C S – Yes, I think the mentoring would be great. We built version 1.0 of the platform all around the mentoring but realized we had a capacity issue without enough Maverick mentors for a lot more young entrepreneurs. That’s why some of the cornerstones of this next version of the platform are 1) Business Blueprints submitted by the young entrepreneur (hopefully the young entrepreneurs could mentor/guide each other) 2) The mentorship would come from success entrepreneurs who submit their ideas so they would be keen to mentor 3) Q&A section that works better than a discussion forum as a reference bank

  5. May 15, 2011, 1:02 am

    Hola como estas’ To all you very creative open minded ENTREPRENEURISTS ARTIST: this is A very excellente’
    Vision:very good…

  6. May 15, 2011, 1:09 am

    Hello Yanik

    Splendid idea, the world needs entrepreneurs and I am up for educating youngsters in the way forward. I just love being an entrepreneur myself…

    Moving Forward…PaTrisha-Anne Todd
    Empowering women and men to create abundance and prosperity…ask me how

  7. Ali
    May 15, 2011, 5:57 am

    You actually don’t need to manage the mentoring directly.

    Instead, I think the value would be the greatest if your website just showcased successful lifestyle entrepreneurs… and then leave it up to the young entrepreneurs to get in touch.

    That’s what you’re doing at your Underground seminars: You’re just attracting all the interesting people into one place — and then they mingle and make connections by themselves.

    Maverick1Million.org could do the same thing like meetinnovators.com, or like Tony Robbins’ “Money Masters” series. Just find people who are living the Maverick Internet Lifestyle, and then go interview them and post the interviews for free for the young entrepreneurs. This way, any visitor can find “their secret idol” that “clicks” with them the most… and then they’re free to get in touch or to just soak up what they’re learning and do their first steps on their own.

    Oh, and also… you don’t need to do these interviews just with official Mavericks. Young people can get inspiration from anyone out there who’s living the lifestyle that your blog is about… i.e. someone who 1) is doing what they enjoy, 2) is in control of their time and 3) is creating an income that sustains a lifestyle beyond the ordinary.

    Last month, for example, I’ve been to Austin for a couple of days, and I met two really fascinating guys who’re independently crushing it on the internet and have an amazing outlook on life to share as well… but they’re totally unknown! You could google their names and you wouldn’t see much more than their personal Facebook page.

    So find those kind of people. There’s probably hundreds or thousands of them, and each one of them has an inspiring story to share that will “click” with a different young entrepreneur… IF he or she ever hears it.

    You’ll find people like that on your blog. You’ll find them through your network. You’ll find them by scanning the Clickbank Topseller lists, for example. And in addition to that, why not do it like the TED conference does it and have a “recommend someone to interview”-function on your site.

  8. May 15, 2011, 5:58 am

    Hey Yanik, I have already offered my help as well as a venue to initiate such a program; http://www.mavericksineducacation.com I believe every major business school in the US / World would support such an agenda and I know that the Hyzenga School of Bus. @ Nova SE University would love to facilitate the development of such a platform. I have sent you several propositions and have recieved no response from you, Derek or John Course. I am anxious to see this move forward and will do what I can as resources permit.
    Namaste’
    Don

  9. May 15, 2011, 6:02 am

    I believe the mentoring format is perfect and is totally in alignment with what can be facilitated thru mavericks in education, college students and successful entrepreneurs.

  10. May 15, 2011, 6:28 am

    Would be willing to volunteer and help.

  11. May 15, 2011, 6:35 am

    Hey Yanik,
    This is great stuff! What an ambitious project. You’ll need lots of help. I had an idea of setting up some sort of non profit foundation some day that would help kids in high school become entrepreneurs. This is very timely. I think we’re in a time of massive transition. Many things are broken and many things are not working…including the education system.

    Our kids are going to be working in industries that have yet to be created! How can teachers and parents possibly prepare them. I think apprenticeships and mentoring will have a massive resurgence and we’ll all learn as we go along together. The kids are great. They’re smarter than most of us adults! Cause most are connected and live on the interenet, they hopefully haven’t been stupefied and dumbed down by mainstream media. The next generations will create their own world.

    Maybe talk to Ryan Eliason. He’s done tons of stuff on social entrepreneurs. Wishing you great success!
    All the best, Yanik.

  12. May 15, 2011, 7:51 am

    We have built a movement called One Million Acts of Innovation.
    In the process, we have created various teams. One of the teams is working on training kids in financial litracy. Perhaps we can combine some activities.

  13. Mike
    May 15, 2011, 9:18 am

    I think this might be a very good idea providing the following is observed:

    1. Show people how to do things.
    2. Explain to people how to do things.

    It is ok to tell people what needs to be done in order to be successful but people need to be taken by the hand. All to often I’ve seen it when I’ve attended a Summit here in the UK, and yes, still nobody wants to show/explain how to do things. Only, if you have thousands £/$’s to spare will you get that sort of help.
    The very best of luck.

    Mike.

  14. May 15, 2011, 10:20 am

    Hi Yanik. I’m a friend Jodi M (her brother is in your group) and I’ve been working on my Teen Internet Bootcamp that I’m starting in July or August this summer. I’d love to work with you on this and already have about 30 parents and teens who want to be involved. Contact me please. Elisabeth

  15. May 15, 2011, 11:28 am

    Just ran across this. Amazing idea. And totally worth it. Sent you an email and would be down for the cause of this!

    Entrepreneurship is very challenging and very rewarding. This generation needs a push. Mentors would be great. So would ‘understanding’ their choices. And also learning from real people in the field.

  16. May 15, 2011, 11:29 am

    @Ali – yeah totally agree about the interviews. We are planning on expanding (and already have) beyond just Maverick1000 members.

  17. May 15, 2011, 11:29 am

    @Taimour – One million acts of innovation sounds exciting! Please contact us on that email to discuss.

  18. May 15, 2011, 11:31 am

    @Don – I appreciate you wanting to be involved. We’re still taking baby steps on the project right now

  19. May 15, 2011, 4:08 pm

    [...] Goal: 1000000 Young entrepreneurs (call for volunteers and … [...]

  20. May 16, 2011, 1:25 am

    Hey Janik,
    I live in South Africa. It has been a long time dream of mine to create a platform where young South Africans can be taught the skills needed to become successful Entrepreneurs. I believe the Internet is that platform.

    600,000 students graduate from High School every year. Only 20% of them will find jobs and/or can afford to study at Colleges and Universities.

    With an Unemployment Rate of over 40% the rest stand no chance at all of creating a decent life for them and their families.

    As you can imagine, this causes massive problems in our Society. Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Street Children, Teenage Pregnancies, Crime etc.

    This looks like it can be a huge part of the solution. So I am interested.

    I have sent you an e-mail.

  21. May 16, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Yanik,

    Kudos for taking on this project! It is truly needed and our youth need all of the good advice, content and funding that they can to make their dreams a reality.

    A few thoughts:
    1. There are some great org.s who have been in this space for years now. A great place to connect with them is through the industry summit – the Future of Entrepreneurship Education. (http://www.feesummit.com/)

    2. Young people have access to alot of quick hits when it comes to entrepreneurship advice but very few places that provide funding and long term support. Your goal of mentoring is key.

    3. Young people are often drawn to sites because of seeing experienced entrepreneurs but they need to see and hear from their peers in order to believe it’s possible for them. I see it time and time again in the workshops and events I’ve done – they won’t continue past one day if they don’t see young people their age doing it. I would highlight the youth successes as much as you can.

    I have ideas on what to do to track the success as well as what to include and not include. Feel free to reach out to me if you are organizing an Advisory Board!

  22. DNN
    May 16, 2011, 4:13 pm

    Empowering the youth with the know how to be their own boss in any kind of positive business they desire to run is a beautiful thing Yanik. I’m glad you’re still around after all these years, helping others. Surely, you are an honorable and genuine exaple of altruism, and being of service in helping others succeed. God bless you brother! =)

  23. May 17, 2011, 12:25 pm

    [...] Silver’s mission to create 1 million entrepreneurs (13-23 [...]

  24. May 20, 2011, 11:44 am

    Have you heard of Sramana Mitra? She is a sillicon valley entreprenuer, written several books on entreprenuership and has been actively nurturing and educating entreprenuers through her One Million by One Million program for past two years through free webinars and private lounge.

  25. May 20, 2011, 12:43 pm

    @Mukul – thank you! You’re the 2nd person to mention that – I never heard of it before but definitely seems like there are some cool collaboration things.

  26. June 4, 2011, 2:15 pm

    Hey Yanik,

    awesome article. i love what you’re doing budd.

    you should really get in touch with Lynne Twist
    her blogs at – http://www.soulofmoney.org/

    she runs the pachamama alliance – http://www.fouryearsgo.org/
    her goal is to to build a global movement of commitment and action that will cause a positive tipping point in humanity’s future by the end of 2014, setting everyone irreversibly on a new path…

    you two can deffo create some magic. ;-)

    Shaqir

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