Live for free in Omaha's first and only entrepreneurs' residency program. Apply now.
Year of the Startup (YOTSU) is an entrepreneurs' residency program designed to create optimal conditions for the creation of new businesses to ensure a vibrant economic future.
Year of the Startup, a non-profit organization, is a breakthrough model for economic and community development. We provide free and shared housing for early stage entrepreneurs for a full year. Our savings requirement allows resident entrepreneurs to save $10,000 to start the business of their dreams. The year-long experience immerses “startup fellows” in an entrepreneurial sub-ecosystem designed to foster collaboration, mentorship, experimentation, innovation, learning by doing, and firm creation. The YOTSU team believes that the promotion of entrepreneurship should be emphasized and made more accessible to all. Moreover, we champion the proliferation of entrepreneurial thinking and seek to ensure the encouragement of sustainable and socially conscious business models and practices.
Year of the Startup is a new breed of startup accelerator. A startup accelerator is loosely defined as a short term program (3-12 months) that delivers a seed investment and support services to early stage entrepreneurs in exchange for equity. We are unique amongst our peers (Y Combinator, TechStars, etc.) in a handful of ways...
1. We are a nonprofit organization which gives us the ability to measure ROI differently. As a nonprofit, we’re able to use a different accounting framework for measuring ROI. Typical accelerator programs select applicants based on likely profit measured in US Dollars- there is nothing wrong with doing this. Because of our expanded definition of ROI, Year of the Startup is able to operate in more of an economic development capacity and select applicants with the capacity to improve local economic conditions and make Omaha a better place. A typical accelerator program will select applicants from out of state and sometimes out of country. Again, there is nothing wrong with outside applicants except that the host city doesn’t necessarily receive the same economic development possibilities that Omaha will receive from Year of the Startup's efforts.
2. Our Seed Investment that we deliver to our startup fellows is their own savings $. Our savings requirement allows us to ensure that startup fellows receive seed money, but it allows Year of the Startup to not actually have that much cash on hand. This intentional design allows us to serve more early stage entrepreneurs and set up more new startup houses. We feel that this is the most critical element of the program because it also gives individuals a strong incentive to follow through with the program. The savings requirement, a concept inspired by behavioral economics, is what we consider to be our most unique feature.
3. Startup fellows will co-habitate in startup houses - which will ensure an immersive experience. The opportunities for networking and finding synergies increase exponentially as we provide more points of possible interaction. We like to think about it like learning a foreign language; you could take classes domestically or you can travel abroad and immerse yourself in the culture and language. Which would you choose? We look forward to realizing all of the future benefits to concentrating so much talent and potential in common locations.
4. Social problems can be addressed - we believe that a great strength of this program is the ability to meet social needs and demands with market mechanisms. For instance, we can improve the situation in North Omaha by opening a startup house in a northside neighborhood and stipulate that applicants must locate their business within the bounds of North Omaha or must somehow serve North Omaha. We can build a vibrant business community in that section of the city and everyone can benefit from the positive spillover effects created. Furthermore, we can select for/encourage socially conscious models and practices which can contribute to the accomplishment of broader policy objectives.
5. We are not tech-centric - most startup accelerators have a bias towards selecting tech/web companies. We see no need to only emphasize tech. We believe that all sorts of firms are important to an economy. We recognize the need for tech firms and will likely create a startup house that only accepts tech/web startups at some point in the future, but most of our program will be open to early stage entrepreneurs of all industries.
Click here to download the FAQ pdf.
In-house web development & graphic design
Savings Requirement - leave with $10,000
PROD: Productivity / Project Mangement Tool
Ice House Curriculum
Integration into existing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Omaha
Technical assistance & hands-on experience
Pick-A-Brain: Mentor Program
Idea Pitch Events
Research of Entrepreneurship
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