Julian Young first saw a bag of drugs for sale when he was eight years old growing up in North Omaha, Nebraska. This is a truth that has gone on to define his life and career in many ways.
“I, as a very young man, [didn’t] I can understand why my community didn’t look the same as a western community, a suburban community,” says Young. entrepreneur“I didn’t understand why our city and schools weren’t so good. I didn’t understand how economics worked on that.”
As a teenager, Young had an entrepreneurial spirit. But school didn’t feel like a place where he could make a living out of it, he says, so he was selling drugs by the time he was 16, which ultimately landed him over 15 years in prison. was to be imprisoned in
“I had an ultimatum,” recalls Young. “I could change my life, or I could continue down the path I was on and end up spending most of my life in jail. I didn’t want it.”
Luckily, Young had a mentor at one of the professors at Wayne State University. At the time, Young didn’t understand what the term meant, but with the encouragement of his mentor, he began learning more and embarking on a journey to co-found several powerful social impact initiatives. I was.
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“I wanted to use my entrepreneurial spirit to tap overlooked and underdeveloped talent, because that’s what I’m talking about.”
Young joined a student business organization known as SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) and became president of the university’s chapter. The organization, now called Enactus, is an international social entrepreneurship project aimed at bringing change to communities.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet other successful executive CEOs, business owners, and people who have started and grown multi-million dollar and multi-billion dollar businesses,” says Young.
Young began to see himself in their shoes — and it changed his life.
“I wanted to use my entrepreneurial spirit to not only help people who have already started businesses and are looking to grow their businesses, but also tap into overlooked and untapped talent because that’s what I’m talking about. ‘ explains Young.
Originally, it meant making people dream, regardless of their financial status or background. “No one is too poor to dream,” says Young. “Anyone, anyone can have a dream.” He helped people know that dreams are valuable and that they can solve real problems and change lives in the process.
Young and his wife Brittany co-founded the nonprofit in 2012. Originally known as the Start Center for Entrepreneurship. However, Young struggled to gain substantial traction in his venture.
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“He was an integral part of our work and is still my mentor to this day.”
One of Young’s first contacts was Don Eckles, co-founder and chairman of the board of Omaha-based franchise Scooter’s Coffee. Eckles and Scooter’s invested his $500,000 in North He opened a coffee shop in an old bank building in Omaha. It was also used as a space for Start Center programming.
Another mentor to Young’s success? Tom Osborne, former head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and founder of the TeamMates mentor program. Young said he had been trying to arrange a meeting with Osborne for nearly two years, but in 2014 Osborne finally caught up with him at the airport before he left the country for two weeks.
“I shared a vision with him about what I wanted to do through entrepreneurship and how I wanted to impact my community, the world, and the Black community,” Young recalls. “And he absolutely loved it.”
Osborne helped Young build ideas and guided him to refine his passion for maximum results.
“If he hadn’t helped me, I wouldn’t be where I am,” says Young. “He disagrees. He says I would have figured it out, but I think it’s his humility. ; I tell him what I think. And he asks where we are He takes the time to see what we are doing and uses his network, advice and mentorship to help us grow and continue to build on what we do.
Today, it looks like a rebranding of the Start Center, now known as the Julian and Brittany Young Foundation. The reason for the change is simple, Young explains: The organization started as a place and had leases in various spaces, but then evolved into an idea. Ask for the names of Young and his wife.
“Subconsciously, we’ve become a brand,” says Young. “We have become a trusted name for people in our community as well as in our community. We receive applications and registrations from entrepreneurs nationally and internationally.”
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“We help so many entrepreneurs not only start their businesses, but grow them.”
The Julian and Brittany Young Foundation will continue to offer classes on entrepreneurship through a program called Start, but it will also step into advocacy and develop policy and support for the unique challenges facing small, minority-owned businesses. strive to educate elected officials about The foundation also provides grants to small business owners as they continue to expand.
Youngs developed the Small Business Resilience and Recovery Plan, formerly known as the Urban Wealth Initiative, to help minority- and Black-owned businesses get the resources and education they need wherever possible.
Fundamentally, Young says the foundation operates with a “one-two punch” approach. Our non-profit division helps fledgling entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground and is complemented by our for-profit division, Julian Young Advisors, providing a more advanced path to growth.
“This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for the next level of service in terms of paid advisors, consultants, longer tenures and someone to work with throughout the process of doing business,” Young explains. “And they are looking for a lot of wraparound services that they really need to grow and be sustainable.”
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For many aspiring entrepreneurs, now is the time. The pandemic and massive resignations have forced the ambitious business his owner to act like never before. In fact, Youngs’ customer base, both non-profit and for-profit, has doubled for him during this tumultuous time.
“[It’s] It’s going very well,” Young says. We are watching entrepreneurs buy their first homes and be able to start investing in real estate. All of this came from his one business they started. The ripple effect is quite amazing. ”
Over the years, Young has come to realize just how powerful that ripple effect can be. The most important thing you can have is your peace, but without patience you cannot become a peaceful person.
“Without it [advice], would have tried to keep pushing the door when it wasn’t time to go through it,” says Young. Patience wasn’t always a fun teacher, but it was definitely the most fruitful one I’ve had. ”