Now Funding Somali Youth Entrepreneurs!

Published on July 24, 2017 | Written by

The Somali YES! Fund is an initiative that invests directly into projects led by Somali youth entrepreneurs. This initiative is a part of the Somali Youth Development Fund established to build the entrepreneurial capacity of Somali youth with awesome ideas but limited access to the capital for implementation. Using the model of Youthprise’s original YES! Fund, The Somali YES! Fund invests money into projects led by Somali youth entrepreneurs with big ideas, and offers a flexible menu of entrepreneurial options. We are looking to support young people in developing a business, non-profit or project. Funding options range from robust business planning opportunities for the emerging entrepreneur to funding for the entrepreneur who is ready to launch with additional capacity building support. The competitive grantmaking video application process is open now through August 11th.




  • Must be a Somali youth entrepreneur, ages 14-25
  • Live in Minnesota
  • Strong willingness and desire to share and mobilize a big idea
  • Proposed project must address an issue in the applicant’s community, whether geographic or other

What does a YES! Fund grantee do?

  • 1 year commitment beginning September 1, 2017
  • Participate in business plan development sessions with the YES! Fund cohort
  • Complete implementation plan

What does a YES! Fund grantee get?

  • $15,000 or $25,000 start-up funding with $5,000 additional support toward business plan development

The YES! Fund is a part of the second round of 2017 SYDF grantmaking intended invest directly in Somali youth, not just the organizations that serve them. The YES! Fund grants will be complemented with a SYDF YouthBank, a youth-led grantmaking model hosted by several Somali-led organizations in Minnesota. Both of these initiatives of the SYDF put money directly into the hands of Somali youth.

The Somali YES! Fund will activate the four levers that drive our work: racial equity; leveraging; growing the role of youth, and systems alignment. We believe that the YES! Fund will yield a tremendous return on our investment because we know that established entrepreneurs are interested in providing jobs to young people and reinvesting in their communities. We see this happening with many of the entrepreneurial models we support. The notion of entrepreneurship is very central to the Youthprise investment portfolio, from capacity building investments to Change Fellows to Opportunity Reboot, entrepreneurship is integral to our work as a youth community foundation.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that we invest in Minnesota’s Somali youth. The political climate is shifting and the normalization of Islamophobia is threatening young people’s safety and pathways to success. Youthprise will continue to invest in the Somali community and use our resources to challenge Islamophobia in our state.

Requirements & Restrictions

  • You must be a Somali youth age 14-25 to apply
  • Applicants must submit a video outlining their project and goals
  • Include original content in your application. Do not submit a video that has been submitted elsewhere.
  • Video must NOT be longer than 5 minutes.
  • Avoid profane language, violence, sex or personal attacks on people or organizations.
  • Avoid violating copyright laws or using brand names or logos other than those you have been granted permission to use in your video. You agree to indemnify Youthprise for any claim, demand, judgment, or other allegation arising from your possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright, or other legally protected interest in any way in your video.

Review Process

Youthprise staff and a panel of youth will review all video applications, score on a standard rubric, and select YES! Fund grantees. Notifications will be made by August 31st, 2017.

Click here for the link to the full application.

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