Recession fueled youth entrepreneurship

Description of video content after the jump.
Campus Progress has an article, Getting Creative in the Great Recession, to go along with the video above. According to the article:

In October, unemployment for individuals ages 20-24 hit 15.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s pretty sobering news for people in their early twenties. But not everyone is dealing with the difficult job climate in the same way. Some folks are using their under-employment as a motivation to try their hand at entrepreneurship.
Two friends of mine, Sara Fatell and Causten Wollerman, featured in the CP article and video are examples of this. They decided to start a socially conscious bakery that would cater meetings for the many DC based non-profits. Grassroots Gourmet was born.
I think we need more entrepreneurship like this. Don’t get me wrong, the recession is having a huge negative impact on our livelihoods and our economy, but we need more folks, especially young people, to think outside the box when it comes to their lives and work.
I’m proud of my friends for taking a leap and starting this business, giving it a shot in a tough time. It’s going to be creative solutions that help pull us out of this economic slump and I think young people are going to be a big part of that push.
Dreams of a feminist business

Campus Progress did not provide a transcript, but here is a short description of the video content.
Sara and Causten talking about why they started the business and the connection to the recession. Then talking about how their families inspired them to bake, and why the enjoy it. Being young and why it’s a good time to take risks. About the challenges of learning to start a business. Sara’s story of graduating and finding herself underemployed in a recession. Causten talking about his families struggle with un and underemployment. A discussion of how this recession is having positive impacts on our generation and our relationship with consumerism. The recession is a reality check. There are more of us in the struggle together.

Join the Conversation

  • sage

    The impact of the recession on young people is a fascinating subject. I found it interesting that the recession encouraged Sara and Causten to take a risk, because for me it has had the opposite result. I graduated in ’08 and was so thrilled to find a job in my field that pays enough for me to be financially independent and secure. Unfortunately, the job is not exactly what I expected and is not a good match for me at all. I am miserable at work, but I haven’t been able to find another job. Given the economy, I feel I should be happy to be employed, and it seems very imprudent to consider quitting and trying something less conventional like Sara and Causten did. I think if the economy was better, I would be far more likely to take that type of risk.

  • daveNYC

    Bang up job on your friends being able to start a business, but DC is a bit of an outlier when it comes to business environments. I think the problem with their business can be summed up in this paragraph: “They are setting modest goals. Fatell doesn’t think the bakery’s earnings will pay her expensive health insurance plan just yet. She’s keeping her part-time job. Wollerman enrolled full-time at Georgetown, and he’s doubtful his cookies will pay off his loans.”
    It’s nice they started their own business, but if it can’t pay for things like their health care and student loans, and Fatell is keeping her other job to make ends meet, then there are more fundamental issues that need to be dealt with in order to give startup businesses like this a chance to succeed.

  • Kathleen6674

    Unfortunately, in my experience, the most common barrier to starting a business or going freelance is the lack of health insurance and other benefits. I’d love to live an entirely freelance life, but that pesky health insurance issue stops me from doing so. I have many friends in the same position.
    Maybe that’s why Republicans so adamantly oppose national health insurance – it would reduce the number of people willing to work in shitty corporate jobs in fields and companies they do not run or truly choose themselves. They’d be less likely to put up with workplace discrimination, low pay, and all the other things that suck about working jobs that favor corporate interests rather than individual interests. Reserving health insurance for people who work in relatively large companies(businesses don’t have to offer health insurance to all employees if fewer than 21 employees work for them in New York)panders to the people who lobby against national health insurance. It actually discourages the entrepreneurship that maintains a robust economy, but that logic is lost on conservatives.
    I’d also love to go back to school, but I cannot afford to incur more debt, especially in an economy where it’s anything but certain that I’ll get a job that pays well enough to make my payments every month.

  • sammylif

    I met these cool cats last week at that youth lunch in DC (and I met you too, Miriam!)! Baking is so awesome, I hope the idea really takes off.

  • Gopher

    Good for them. I hope they have lots of luck…and lots of cookies!