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VFA Is Helping Companies Grow With Startup-Ready Talent

VFA Is Helping Companies Grow With Startup-Ready Talent
VFA Is Helping Companies Grow With Startup-Ready Talent

Anyone who has spent time recruiting talent for a startup knows that finding the right talent can be so hard. But getting the right people on board is critical to a startup's success. 

That’s exactly why Venture For America wants to help. 

Founded with a mission to support the growth of diverse entrepreneurial ecosystems in 13 cities across the country, Venture For America, or VFA, is a nonprofit that develops entrepreneurial talent through a two-year fellowship. In turn, that talent gets hands-on experience with founders and startups, growing their resume, and startups get access to top-tier talent. 

“We have a real commitment to our cities and want to see them thrive,” says Corey Patrick, Regional Account Director at VFA. 

Corey says that supporting the current founders and startups in VFA’s hubs is an important part of the VFA model. When they thrive, so can the next generation of entrepreneurs. That’s why VFA gives startups access to their top-tier pool of candidates.


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Tapping Into Top Talent

Startups can use a variety of resources to source talent, but many are highly expensive or not specifically tailored. VFA is an affordable hiring solution that also provides companies access to entrepreneurial-minded talent. 

Here’s a few things to know about their fellows:

They’re pre-vetted — and highly selected

Fellows go through a three-part selection process. Out of the 1,500-2,000 applications they get annually, only about 150-160 become Fellows. They undergo one-on-one interviews, are evaluated on how they would respond to business challenges in group situations, and are reviewed by a panel of judges. VFA specifically selects people who are high achieving, able to make a real impact, and entrepreneurial-minded. It’s exactly the kind of talent that thrives at startups. 


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They have some experience under their belts

It’s a common misconception that VFA fellows are fresh out of college. Most have 1-3 years of work experience already, and some have even already earned master's degrees. Companies that hire VFA fellows tend to place them in entry-level or mid-level positions, depending on the company’s needs or size.


They’re highly diverse

The VFA talent pool is a very diverse group of young professionals. 

“We have a very sincere commitment to DEI that other agencies don’t look at,” says Corey.

 Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is a central part of VFA’s mission. They strive to be anti-racist in all their actions and intentionally promote – and expect – the inclusion of diverse representation in their leadership, Fellowship, and amongst organizational partners. In partnership with the communities they operate in, VFA supports rising professionals with diverse racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and socioeconomic backgrounds.


You can find people for any kind of role

VFA Fellows have a broad range of skill sets. Find candidates for marketing, junior development, data analysis, graphic design, finance, and more. Some smaller teams even hire a Chief of Staff through VFA who serves as a people or HR generalist.


Fellows live in VFA hubs across the country

VFA operates in 13 emerging tech hubs: Baltimore, Birmingham, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, St. Louis and Tulsa. Fellows are required to live in one of these hubs. If you’re a remote startup looking to hire anywhere, that works too! If you’re a startup in one of these hubs looking to build up your local workforce, this is a great opportunity to tap into a talent pool that’s expecting and excited to be working in your community.

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How The Program Works

For companies wanting to tap into that excellent talent pool, the process is really simple and easy. VFA knows that many startups don’t have the time needed to dedicate to hiring, so they make it as easy as they can for teams. 

Step 1: Become a VFA partner

To get the process rolling, companies need to become a VFA partner and sign the partner agreement. It’s a risk-free agreement that just says that you agree to pay the $5,000 per hire placement fee. But it’s completely free to browse candidates, and there’s no obligation to hire a fellow. If you don’t find anyone who fits your needs, no fee is ever paid, only if you hire a fellow. 

And if you’re not sure yet, you can always browse VFA’s resume book to get a taste of the type of talent you’ll find through them. 


Step 2: Browse candidates

Companies can join “Connect,” the private platform where companies browse candidates and fellows browse jobs. You can post your open roles to the platform for free and look at candidates and their experience. 


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Step 3: Hire a fellow!

If you see someone you like, you can conduct interviews and have them go through your standard application/interviewing process. Want to make an offer? That’s great! If they accept, that’s when you’ll pay the $5,000 placement fee. 

Fellows are at-will employees of your company. The fellowship lasts two years and VFA asks that they stay at your company for that time. Many stay longer. While each cohort of fellows officially kicks off in August following a week-long training camp, many start earlier. Companies also have the option of sharing open roles with VFA alumni, who number more than 1,600. 

Depending on the size of the company, the VFA experience can be highly tailored to the company’s needs. Corey says that the team is here to help with resources, job description creation, and other services a team might need.

“It’s really a priceless opportunity for companies,” Corey says. “We’re here to support the next generation of founders and entrepreneurs. At the same time we recognize our current founders need support. We’re here to support them.”

If you’re a startup or another small organization looking for talent to come in and make an impact, tap into VFA’s unique and highly engaged talent pool today. 

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