by Brittany Timmons
Amidst disheartening stories of a dreary economic climate, an innovative incubation program is creating a buzz with its unique focus and achievements. Launched in October 2008, the BEGIN New Venture Center in St. Louis – which focuses on helping the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless start businesses or find jobs – has experienced booming success and overwhelming community support.
The incubator is a program of the St. Patrick Center, Missouri’s largest provider of services for the homeless. The BEGIN New Venture Center is the first and only incubator of its kind in the United States and is a perfect next step in St. Patrick’s mission of helping homeless individuals achieve self-sufficiency, says Director Jan DeYoung.
DeYoung carefully screens prospective incubator clients to ensure they are sensitive to the mission of the St. Patrick Center. An entrepreneur must already be a client of St. Patrick Center or make a commitment to employ the center’s clients or to provide training programs to the clients to be considered. According to DeYoung, more important than the drive to create revenue is an entrepreneur’s passion for helping others and creating positive change in their community.
Keywords: social entrepreneurship
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Athens, OH 45701-1565