Newsworthy entrepreneurs and businesses that deserve the AFEUSA spotlight.

Square1 Creates Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship

SQUARE1, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is an entrepreneur education and accelerator providing resources to a range of individuals and organizations seeking personal and professional growth. We have been supporting the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region’s startups and growth-minded companies since 2012. SQUARE1 started because we were tired of seeing good people and ideas slip through the cracks. We have trained and coached over 100 individuals, many of which are currently running growing companies. Our clients have achieved millions in revenue and support dozens of employees.

Our mission is to uncover, educate, support, and inspire emerging entrepreneurs. Our programs provide coaching, curriculum, mentorship, tools, resources, and connections that significantly improve the chances of entrepreneurial success.


Whether it is finding entrepreneurs or revealing the entrepreneurial spirit within, SQUARE1 delivers programs that breed innovative thinking. We work in our schools to plant the seed and sometime launch student-led startups. We teach organizations to “Think Like An Entrepreneur” by developing an innovative culture to catalyze the entrepreneur within their employees. In the community, we guide startups in revealing customers and discovering sales opportunities.


The SQUARE1 Startup Scholars Program teaches high school students the key skills of entrepreneurship including opportunity recognition, presentation skills, critical thinking, communication skills, time management, teamwork, and confidence. As with all our programs, we focus on diversity and inclusion by reaching out to a broad population no matter religion, race, income, or otherwise; and hope to establish entrepreneurship as a tool to help the underprivileged overcome. SQUARE delivers in school, afterschool, and summer programs as well as creating internship opportunities.

Our Velocity platform allows growth-oriented entrepreneurs to hone their business and provides direct engagement with potential customers seeking to work with small, disadvantage, or minority-led organizations.

Our Ignition program is a startup/pre-accelerator program to validate ideas, connect with customers, and help navigate the entrepreneur ecosystem so clients can quit their day jobs.


SQUARE1’s MVP/software development and innovation program assists companies in launching new technologies or tech-enabling their businesses. Participants are encouraged to submit an application to regional accelerators and SQUARE1 will assist with the application process.


Understanding the entrepreneur’s skill set and having an innovative mindset can change lives. We focus our work on people that are not getting the attention needed to change their circumstances. This could be students in an underprivileged school system, entrepreneurs with an idea that does not fit the “venture backable” mold that tends to get all the attention and funding, or a disadvantaged entrepreneur that doesn’t have the network to support their efforts.

Ideas can launch, businesses can grow, and students can thrive when they start at SQUARE1.

Future Founders

Future Founders is a non-profit organization that believes every youth can become an entrepreneur.

We offer age-appropriate and stage-appropriate programs to connect youth with mentors and help them build a toolkit of entrepreneurial skills. We believe this leads to a generation of more determined entrepreneurial thinkers and doers…youth who will build their own businesses, work for startups, or bring an entrepreneurial perspective to whatever they do. Through our work, we can empower youth to create their own opportunity.

Our programs change the conversation.

We were created to foster inclusion in the entrepreneurial community and to seed more diverse founders into the ecosystem. We focus on inspiring youth to create employment opportunities for themselves. Our work changes the conversation and instills confidence in our students that they do, in fact, have control of their own future.

We’ve served over 34,000 students from elementary school to college and beyond. Our students are highly motivated and passionate about entrepreneurship or are open to exploring entrepreneurship and developing new skills. From Chicago Public Schools to universities across the country, we immerse youth in experiences to empower them to become entrepreneurs. During the 2018-19 school year, we will serve 2,000+ students locally and nationally.

We’re entrepreneurs, too.

Future Founders was created in 2011 through the merger of two programs: one created by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (which now runs 1871, the number 1 tech incubator in the world) in 2005 and another created by Uptake Technologies Co-Founder & CEO Brad Keywell in 2006. We are led by an all-star team who has launched everything from international companies to local nonprofits to an annual celebration of ideas. We operate like a startup, work out of the world’s number one business incubator space, and love to pilot new ways of doing things. We are actively involved in the entrepreneurial community to stay on the pulse of what’s new and how we can better prepare our students for success.

And, it works.

We’ve engaged industry leaders in the program evaluation space to build our tools and crafted an outcomes-focused philosophy that grounds our work with students in the latest research. We use data to drive our decision-making and to quickly iterate and meet the needs of youth.

For example, in 2016 and 2017, the 39 millennial founders who graduated our intensive Fellowship accelerator generated significant economic impact:

* Created 234 jobs

* Generated $9.1 million in gross revenue

* Raised $3.3 million in outside capital

* 3 company acquisitions

We’re looking for aspiring or current millennial founders from across the country!

Click Here > > U.Pitch Application Link

Applications are open for the 5th Annual U.Pitch National Elevator Pitch Competition & Showcase. This 90 second elevator pitch competition will award $10,000 to the top collegiate pitches across the country on November 15, 2018, at 1871 in Chicago. Applications are open until October 17 at 5:00pm CST.

Click Here > > Fellowship Application Link

Applications are open for our national 2019 Fellowship Cohort, which will launch in January 2019. The Fellowship is a selective year-long program designed to accelerate the development of top student entrepreneurs across the United States. Fellows have priority access to all Future Founders services plus benefit from mentoring, entrepreneurship retreats, a peer community, and volunteer opportunities through other Future Founders programs. The program includes virtual and in-person components. Applications will remain open until November 21 at 5:00pm CST.

**Anyone can apply for the both U.Pitch AND the Fellowship at the same time HERE! **

For more information on Future Founders, contact Scott Issen at

The Catalyst Center

Entrepreneurship can sometimes feel like a lonely business. As you work on building up your business, you might feel like you’re doing it all on your own.   We at AFE want you to know that you’re not alone in your endeavors. There are programs and events all over the U.S. every day devoted to helping people like you. These programs help with training, networking, and so much more.   One example is The Catalyst, of whom AFE is a proud sponsor. This organization was originally founded in 2003 as The Women’s Business Center of North Alabama (WBCNA). After 14 successful years, the organization changed its name to The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship — or The Catalyst.   Over the years, this non-profit organization has served over 26,000 clients who have created hundreds of new jobs in North Alabama alone. It also works with people of all races, gender and socioeconomic classes. They even offer scholarships for those who qualify!  In other words, The Catalyst takes care of their clients. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, they will be hosting their free Monthly Loan Clinic, where they offer to help you learn how to apply for a loan for your business and prepare everything you’ll need. They’ll also let you know about the services they provide to help guide you through the whole process.  The organization is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and business owners throughout all their stages of growth. They provide one-on-one coaching and networking opportunities to help build business relationships. To better accommodate to individual needs, The Catalyst also offers separate tailored programs for startups, established businesses, innovation and technology businesses, government contractors, women and veterans.   Coming up on Friday, Sept. 14, The Catalyst will be hosting its third annual “Mompreneur Event.” It’s an event designed to “educate, encourage and empower mom entrepreneurs to run successful businesses.” To learn more about The Catalyst and take a look at upcoming events, check out their website  Do you have any experiences with The Catalyst helping you along your entrepreneurship journey? We’d love to hear about them!

Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) is the premier entrepreneurship network with chapters on university campuses across North America and beyond. CEO currently supports entrepreneurship in over 250 chapters in all 50 states and worldwide.

CEO, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable corporation founded in 1983, creates opportunities for college students that seek to be entrepreneurs. Currently, CEO is supporting more than 16,500 emerging collegiate entrepreneurs annually. CEO believes that any student, regardless of academic discipline, can launch a business. Through their global network of more than 250 college and university chapters, they support and inspire the growth and development of any student that seeks to be entrepreneurial.

There are many benefits to being a member of a CEO chapter. The biggest benefit is the annual national conference; this event is a three-day seminar where students can network, participate in competitions and learn from successful entrepreneurs. Other benefits that will help students include: access to live webinars by successful entrepreneurs, student competitions, leadership training, and various discounts on products and services.

The CEO Mission:

“Inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation”. With a diverse entrepreneurial community and global network, CEO provides student entrepreneurs with opportunities, events, chapter activities and conferences to help start businesses.

CEO Managing Director James Zebrowski explains: “CEO practices a mantra of ‘Stop Dreaming and Start Doing’.  At our Global and Regional Conferences students network with like-minded entrepreneurs, meet and receive mentorship from seasoned experts, and participate in business competitions.  On our campuses, the programming exposes every student to a viable path to becoming an entrepreneur. “

Going Forward:

CEO hopes to serve more than 400 colleges and universities by helping students achieve their entrepreneurial dreams and goals. CEO provides student entrepreneurs with opportunities, events, chapter activities and conferences to help start businesses.

The Association for Entrepreneurship is happy to support the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which truly has a wonderful vision for its organization!

Check out their upcoming events.

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