What is YSE?

Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE)

The Sundance Family Foundation has been championing Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) as a way to support youth ages 14-24 in low-income communities, communities of color, and underrepresented communities. YSE youth-serving nonprofit programs tend to have a core enterprise (baking, fixing bikes, engine repair, movie-house management, restaurant and catering, retail sales etc). YSE programs integrate positive youth development, community engagement, workforce readiness and agile thinking–social entrepreneurship. Nonprofits with YSE enterprises offer youth their first wage-earning jobs, and an incubated setting where youth can take a variety of business and community leadership positions. They often obtain certificates or dual courses to be used to gain admission to post-secondary training or employment.

A YSE program is a transformative asset-based model of youth development. It includes the development of entrepreneurial thought, business and personal skills and community engagement. Together, these learnings inspire youth to acquire the self-confidence to explore careers, post-secondary training, and to embark upon meaningful sustainable futures.

Sundance Family Foundation is seeding and cultivating the field of YSE by focusing on five strategies:

  • Building the capacity of nonprofits to produce rigorous evidence-based evaluation
  • Developing bridges and pipelines between youth-serving nonprofits, post-secondary training, and job opportunities
  • Creating innovative transportation, training and workplace mentoring pilot projects
  • Producing Wunderkammers: Community Tech and Training Exploratoriums which provide hands-on career engagement with working technicians
  • Communicating these bold innovations through video, social media, and storytelling.