03/01/2013 10:24 am ET Updated May 01, 2013

Why Youth Entrepreneurship?

I can't believe that we're almost at the end of this incredible challenge! Over the past few weeks you have followed the journey of our young entrepreneurs, heard from staff who are themselves on their own entrepreneurial quest, and experienced (I don't know what else to call it!) a moment with P. Vernon Jones, Assistant Principal and Academic Revolutionary.

We've done our best to tell our story through those that matter most, and who can best share the impact and promise that our model delivers. And we have been blessed by the response. Our in-boxes have been flooded with support from old and new friends, both near and far, all of whom are passionate advocates of YouthBiz and our young entrepreneurs.
Even our City Councilman sent in a declaration of support!

"As the Councilman for District 8 I am proud that an organization, such as YouthBiz has been selected as a finalist for the National Job Raising Challenge. Northeast Denver is excited that the hard work being done by this great organization is being recognized nationally. Their focus on entrepreneurship, education and community leadership, not only advances the social and economic empowerment of our youth, but our entire community. I hope that everyone in my district, as well as our great state of Colorado supports YouthBiz as they continue the hard work of cultivating our young leaders to help address our nation's job crisis." -- Albus Brooks Denver City Councilman -- District 8

I hope, and based on the emails and jobraising results believe, that we have made a strong case for YouthBiz, our approach and the remarkable young people we have the fortune to serve. This entire process has been so good for YouthBiz. But, personal benefit isn't why we've worked so hard in this competition. We set out to prove that YouthBiz isn't a one-off or outlier solution to our nation's job crisis. When we were selected, our entire team pledged to represent the field of youth entrepreneurship as a broad, effective, and scalable strategy for tackling our nation's biggest and most complicated issues.
There is overwhelming demand, need, and relevance for youth entrepreneurship across the country.
That is a bold statement back by a growing body of evidence that includes powerful statistics and statements like those below:

• In a recent survey of college graduates, 92% of respondents surveyed said that entrepreneurship education was critical to their success in the new economy only 27% had ever been given access to entrepreneurship training in school. (Buzz Marketing Group and The Young Entrepreneur Council, 2011)

• 4 in 10 youth (ages 8-24) have said that they would like to someday start their own business (or already have) and 25% of 18-21 year olds see starting a business as much more desirable than other career opportunities they might have. (YouthPulse 2010 -- Kauffman Foundation with Harris Interactive)

• The US Department of Labor states that entrepreneurship education for youth produces improved academic performance, school attendance and educational attainment; increased problem-solving and decision-making abilities; improved interpersonal relationships, teamwork, money management, and public speaking skills; job readiness; enhanced social psychological development (self-esteem, ego development, self-efficacy); and even perceived improved health status. (Logic Models and Outcomes for Youth Entrepreneurship Programs, a report by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Corporation)

Friends, at the beginning of this challenge, I set out to answer two fundamental questions. Why YouthBiz? Why youth entrepreneurship? The answer to both is because they work.

Support YouthBiz via the JobRaising Challenge by clicking here.