Follow-Up Services (FUS)
After each at-risk youth (1) gains employable skills via the 14-week in-class phase of the Entrepreneurship and Employment Training Program (EETP)
, G.E.P.'s Follow-up Services and Business Incubator begin. G.E.P.'s Follow-up Services Coordinator helps each EETP graduate (2) find access to opportunities for higher education and both wage-employment and self-employment.
After low-income Bay Area youth learn entrepreneurship and job skills via the EETP, G.E.P.'s Follow-up Services, Business Incubator and Venture Capital Fund enable them to access assistance with finding job interviews, college guidance, a mentorship with a working professional, and if/when they choose to start a business, technical support, a mentorship with a small business owner, start-up capital and a physical location in which to launch their own business.
G.E.P. assists students with finding jobs and summer internships with private, non-profit and public corporations, college guidance and referrals to College Recruitment Fairs, and assistance with resumés, cover letters and college applications in G.E.P.'s computer facility. G.E.P. also connects EETP graduates with working professionals who they can meet with for mentoring, advice, networking, job shadowing (opportunities to observe their mentors at the job site), technical assistance with updating their resumes, and to gain more familiarity with the "language" of wage-employment.
At its computer facility, G.E.P. provides technical assistance with the further development of business plans (students produce the first draft of their business plans during the EETP), business cards, and assistance with the writing of business letters, development of balance sheets and income statements, etc. for EETP graduates who start their own businesses.
G.E.P. also provides a Bay Area small business owner as a mentor for each business that earns a start-up capital grant (below). Small Business Mentors meet with the EETP graduate(s) at least once every two months during the first year of operation, at least once every quarter during the second year, and then as agreed upon with the EETP graduate. Small Business Mentors assist EETP graduates with various facets of managing their businesses, such as customer service, strategic planning, cash flow projections, marketing, organizational structure and human resource management.
Venture Capital Fund
G.E.P. has now launched its Venture Capital Fund. The Venture Capital Fund process is as follows: Students in each EETP present their business plans to a panel of small business owners (already a component of each EETP). Based on content, presentation and the viability of the business plan, the panelists select 2-4 business plans, which will receive approx. $500-$1,000 each as start-up capital grants. After students reach a more developed stage of growth with their businesses, G.E.P. will help them seek opportunities for more significant loans and start-up capital from banks and venture capitalists. Students receive technical support for their businesses from their Small Business Mentor and from G.E.P. staff (above).