Global Youth Entrepreneurs (GYE): Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship

A free intensive accelerator, taking students through the complex stages of entrepreneurship, from pitching to prototyping to presenting.

Photo of Li Lambert
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Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Online Website:

Date You Started Your Project Started

January / 18 / 2018.

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Too often, current models of youth engagement (school clubs, paid events, etc) are only geared towards those with connections to social and economic power. In a similar vein, existing HS business and economics programs do not adequately account for or encourage community reinvestment. GYE’s goal is to spark the passions of young people towards socially-invested entrepreneurship, bringing together those who seek to better their own communities.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

GYE is a Portland-based organization of high school students leveraging the unifying power of entrepreneurship to forge alliances between young people across political and cultural boundaries while endowing them with the skills and connections to innovate solutions to community problems. Since inception, GYE has tapped into the passion of GEN Z, creating free, entrepreneurship and rapid prototyping programs that give students the tools of ideation and innovation. Yet not only have we motivated student creation, but we’ve provided a grounding in cultural competence that has forged connections between cohort members on the merits of mutual understanding. Our marquee, weekend-long program, pushes students to think about community issues, and ideate with support of local business/education leaders. Speeches by fellow youth entrepreneurs, public speaking seminars, creative ideation workshops, rapid prototyping demonstrations and a parity of freedom allow for greatness to emerge. Previous youth alumni have created diverse projects: groups for those with speech impediments, an app to help navigate food restrictions and a pill dispensing device to prevent overdoses.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

We started two years ago from real knowledge that passion and positive energy can die without proper guidance and fair circulation of resources. Our directors have led independent projects/nonprofits, and have had to self teach concepts of business administration, event planning, website design and more because we couldn't find outlets to teach us those skills. We believe strongly that these should be taught and mentored. What’s more, the problem of siloed education is neither a new phenomenon nor a concept foreign to us. There has always been an opportunity gap between the bare legal minimum of HS education and more robust systems of experiential learning as a whole. GYE’s work offers a different path, acknowledging that we as youth want change and don’t want to be handed change, but want to work right alongside those making it happen

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Our first official startup program was in Tbilisi, Georgia. Looking to capitalize on the growing entrepreneurial spirit in post-Soviet Georgia, we formed a coalition of local high school students to offer a program centered around building community infrastructure. Emerging as a local leader in this program was Mariko Gogidze, leading her team, concycle, to the “best presentation” award. Mariko, currently an undergrad at University of Westminster, has continued her community work in Tblisi, forming an organization — Georgia’s Youth Entrepreneurs — to act as a direct and sustained continuance of our initial work. Our event in Tbilisi was the first youth startup event (of any kind) in the country’s history. Now, Mariko has worked to make this program a keystone of local education, and the program has been featured on all major television networks across the country.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

What we’re proposing is not traditional. Generally, the skills we are offering to students would either come in college or through paid summer programs that are inaccessible to many. But as we have demonstrated in Portland, Amman, and Tbilisi, student entrepreneurs excel when BOTH surrounded by a diverse cohort of fellow youth AND are led by youth organizers through the content. Instead of attending a costly summer program with an intensive application process, our events are free, during the school year and cover more than the normative, business-creation content of classic startup events.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Whether it's the work of dozens of event alumni in Amman and Tbilisi who have spearheaded their own startup programs, a testament to our systemic changes in the youth entrepreneurship scene, or the students who have overcome a fear of public speaking, evidence of the small but intentional changes made towards single individuals, every step we’ve taken has dictated change, positivity and hope. Additionally, the primary goal of our events has always been social entrepreneurship. Having fostered 10-15 student-led initiatives, ranging from a transit tracking app to a mentor service for African American teens, we believe that our events have been able to spread the idea that students are at the forefront of innovation and change in their respective communities.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

By this time next year we plan to have held an expanded version of the Startup Camp Youth Portland, reaching around 100 youth; established three more Startup Camps in foreign locations, two international (Morocco and Iraq) and one in the Midwest; held two GYE summer seminars, our new week-long startup intensives, in Portland and abroad, reaching an additional 40-50 students; spread our organizer's guide to club and organizations within every PPS and Portland area school as well as our partners abroad, reaching hundreds to thousands of motivated students; and worked with program alumni to develop a continuance of their work, ensuring that it takes hold and impacts their communities.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Monitoring Impact

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 66.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 100%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 33.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


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Photo of Joseph Zhong

I do like the website, especial like the project@

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