“It’s the future of our city,” said Sandy Kemper, CEO of C2FO and co-founder of YEP KC, about young talent.
Sandy and Christine Kemper, along with C2FO employees Aditya Devurkar, Jeremy Colwell, Jordan Van Winkle and Kyle Hattock, founded non-profit YEP KC in 2016. YEP KC is a program for juniors and seniors in high school to develop and practice their entrepreneurial skills and explore their interests through hands-on professional experience.
“If we can capture them early, before they go to college, we can create a network that can sustain them here in Kansas City,” says Kemper about the YEP KC students.
YEP KC selects exceptionally talented students and partners them with high-growth and startup companies across the Kansas City metro area throughout the summer. This year, YEP KC partnered with high-growth companies such as C2FO, Fishtech, Blooom, EyeVerify, Indigo Wild and Dimensional Innovations. Students intern at each company for four weeks, working 40 hours per week. In exchange for invaluable experience and knowledge, the young entrepreneurs are awarded $500 per week, and a $5,000 college scholarship upon completion of the program.
“Kansas City has so many great attributes and there already are a lot of young people coming back for the entrepreneurial environment,” Kemper said. “This is just a little extra added advantage to those who we think are pretty extraordinary to know that we’ll be there for them when they return. When it comes time for them to start a company, they know they’ve got an active, supportive network here in Kansas City,” says Kemper.
Students aren’t the only ones benefitting from the program. Chris Costello, CEO of Blooom, was so impressed with his YEP KC interns, that he offered full-time positions to two of them. For a growing startup, it’s highly valuable to have access to fresh, young eyes on what you’re building, Costello said.
YEP KC continues to expand every year. Jenna Felsen, YEP KC program director, says the organization is looking to partner with two more companies in 2018. For the Summer 2018 program, the organization plans to select 20 exceptionally talented interns who will join the YEP KC family.