We bring together tech communities and create spaces where techies come to learn, play, work and bring ideas alive. We provide direct support to techies and help them develop skills they need to become world-class tech entrepreneurs.
We at the Foundation will be open and honest with one another, the community, and all our donors and partners. We will uphold the highest possible standards of conduct and ethics. We respect all peoples and seek out ideas and advice of others.
We believe that our problems can be solved with creative and innovative solutions. We take focused and strategic risks in proposing novel solutions to our problems. We empower others to challenge the conventional wisdom, think outside the box and drive new policies for sustainable development.
We provide and promote an environment of trust that fosters the best ideas and policy options. We work with individuals and organizations who are best able to make significant contributions in their fields. We pursue actively our vision of a better world and inspire others to become involved.
We believe in Big Ideas – ideas that have the potential of positively influencing the lives of millions. We will pursue these ideas relentlessly and seek avenues through which we can maximize our impact in our communities and society at large.
Diversity is our greatest strength. We make it a priority to promote a culture where the best people want to work, where folks are rewarded based on merit, regardless of our individual differences. We celebrate our diversity in ideas and background.
The Entrepreneur’s Fairytale (and Reality)
Since Mark Zuckerberg’s meteoric rise from Harvard dropout to tech superstar, it can seem as though the only requirements for a profitable business are a risk-accepting spirit and a good idea, but it’s not quite that simple. In subsequent years, many have sought to discipline the mystery of startup success. Now, thanks in part to people like Eric Ries and StartUp Weekend, incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurs abound. The idea has grown in popularity to such a degree that it has even been used by large corporations, who seek to empower and promote intrapreneurs, individuals able to lead innovation and change within the context of a larger organizational structure. What’s more, social entrepreneurs insist that enterprise, not fundraising, can also become the driving force behind effective social impact solutions.
This trend has given rise to an industry of products designed to support these new ventures. Impact investors and venture funds have grown in size, scope, and reach. Every major metropolitan area in the United States boasts a number of startup incubators that can help new startups fail or succeed faster, creating linkages between ideas, funders, and the tech savvy.
In the United States and Europe, this startup culture has typically been focused on information technology; most recently, on developing applications for mobile devices. Innovation and its resulting products and services have had a transformative impact on individuals and industry around the world and, in more developed markets, entrepreneurs have come to be seen as the purveyors of innovation. This mindset, however, conflates entrepreneurship with innovation, where the distinction is critical—not all entrepreneurs are innovators, and not all innovators are entrepreneurs. For the most part, the demand for the enterprise needed to spur growth in Africa is of an entrepreneurial, not necessarily innovative, nature.
In many other corners of the world, being an entrepreneur is often an occupation of necessity. What national accounts reflect as ‘the informal economy’ is in fact an economy driven by entrepreneurs. In the face of high unemployment and limited schooling, those determined to feed their families make their living wherever they can, often in the world’s largest open-air markets—traffic intersections and roadways. In imperfect markets where supply struggles to meet demand, everything is for sale.
For visitors to developing countries, these impromptu markets are visible, risky, and fluid. Yet, what remain largely invisible are the poverty traps that underlie them. Many international economic growth pundits are quick to point out that enough natural resources, food, and opportunities exist to feed, clothe, and sustain the people of the world, but market inefficiencies, lack of capital, and inconsistent governance prevent this outcome. Inherent in such market gaps are poverty traps, whose physiological underpinnings are simple, yet stark.
Many types of poverty traps exist and have been chronicled in detail by the likes of Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Collier, and others. In the most basic poverty trap, an individual faces a circumstance in which she does not earn enough money to afford to buy enough food calories to meet her minimum daily caloric consumption, much less enough calories to support an active lifestyle. Under such circumstances, many struggle to maintain even a subsistence livelihood, and holding a manual labor job—often the most available employment—is completely out of the question. In such cases, starting a small business selling a hand-made product or a simple service is the most efficient and feasible means by which to earn a living.
The YES Network has been set up to address the needs of young entrepreneur so that they can grow together, share ideas and experiences and become really successful in life.
Young entrepreneurs will now have their own ‘hub’ where they can meet up, make new connections and be inspired to develop themselves and their businesses. This is as much about making money as making new friends or even finding a business partner.