Youth Business America

The Althea Foundation was the founding sponsor of Youth Business America, Inc. (YBA), a micro-lender providing small loans ($10,000–$50,000) and mentorship to young people (ages 18-35) starting businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. YBA was the U.S. affiliate of Youth Business International, a network of non-profits in 38 countries offering loans and mentorship to young people.

YBA's three-year pilot program, with support from the Arthur Guinness Fund, Barclays Capital and The Kaufman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, provided loans and mentorship to 24 local businesses, many of which would not have obtained funding on reasonable terms from any other lender, and several of which would not be in business today, but for their YBA loan. These businesses have created 80 jobs since obtaining YBA funding. In addition to substantial funding over its three-year operational run, the Althea Foundation provided in-kind support and technical advice.

Building on the success of this pilot program, YBA teamed up with another non-profit micro-lender, Bay Area Small Business Finance, in order to create a new Youth Business Lending Program, which will permanently dedicate a $1.8 million revolving loan fund to young people in the Bay Area starting businesses, who will be eligible for loans even if they lack business experience and/or loan capital.

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