A major US election offers a chance to reflect on a number of big issues. Americans are asking things like, who are we? What do we want for our future? What can we do to give our young people the best chance of success?
For Andrew Fair, a native of Chicago’s South Side and professional basketball player, those are questions he’s asked himself before, and YouthKinect is one of the answers. A social network aimed at helping young people discover and share opportunities to succeed through scholarships, internships, jobs and college tuition savings, YouthKinect was Andrew’s way of giving back to the community he came from, and the wider world beyond.
We interviewed Andrew and spoke about why he started YouthKinect, and what he hopes to achieve.
So tell us about your business. What exactly is YouthKinect?
YouthKinect is a new tech company designed to give students opportunities for scholarships, internships, jobs, and college expense savings. YouthKinect also has free & paid online courses and a list of all USA college institutions where students can learn more about their dream schools.
How did you decide to get into this field?
How did you decide to get into this field?
Since I was a child, I always wanted to own a business. As a professional athlete, I was blessed to be in a position where I could realize my childhood dream. I chose YouthKinect because of the amount of kids it could help.
They say that to be successful, you need to be passionate. Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because of who I do it for, our youth! I agree that you have to be passionate in whatever you do; being committed is the driver of your success. To be able to do something so powerful, in my opinion that gives back to kids across the world is amazing.
Has it been smooth sailing or have you faced adversity to get where you are?
I grew up in a tough environment as a kid. The overall mindset of the youth growing up in my neighborhood was to survive. Not many were concentrated on being able to go to college and have a successful career. Had it not been for my family, the people, and educators of the community, I would not be where I am today. I’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity but I became the first in my immediate family to get a college degree, I became a professional basketball player having traveled over 5 countries, and I am now a business owner in position to give back to our youth. I love every bit of my journey because it has made me who I am today. We all know crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the joB?
We all know crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the joB?
The wildest thing that’s happened with YouthKinect is the success I’ve had thus far. In under a year, YouthKinect has been accepted by nearly 30 high schools and one international high school. I’d say that’s pretty crazy!
What do you do in your spare time? Are you familiar with the concept?
Outside of training for my profession and sitting behind a computer doing work for YouthKinect, I enjoy relaxing. I think a lot and I usually have a million thoughts running through my mind daily, so being able to step away from everything is refreshing.
How important is social networking to your business?
My company is a social network and the reason I went the social network route is because everything in the world today is in social media. A lot of youth are on social media majority of the day, so I felt that YouthKinect would be right up their alley. You can do the same thing you do on major social networks, but YouthKinect offers something unique. Social media is critical for the success of my company.
How are you involved in your community?
I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for people of my community and for that reason, I know how important it is to be involved in your community. Since launching YouthKinect, I have gone to high schools around Chicago to not only introduce YouthKinect, but to speak to the students about my journey. I wanted to let the kids know that I can relate. I once sat in the same chairs. I come from where you come from. I think it motivates them and allows them to see that we do care. What does ‘supporting local’ mean to you?
What does ‘supporting local’ mean to you?
Local support is the most important factor in having a successful business. Facebook started locally. Instagram started locally. LinkedIn started locally. The list goes on and on. If you can get the support of your community, your chances of succeeding are much greater!
What does the future look like for you and the business?
God willing, my goal is to play basketball for another 6-8 years, depending on how my body holds up. My goal for YouthKinect is to reach every high school and college institution throughout the world and provide unlimited opportunities for students, even beyond my existence on Earth.
Do you have any advice for business owners just starting out?
My advice as a fellow business owner in the startup stage is to use the resources that are available to you. Network! Network! Network! The world has been turning for hundreds of years now and I say that to say that no idea is really a new idea. You just have to come up with a unique concept that will attract consumers to your business. If you want to be a business owner, jump out there. The key is that when you get knocked down, and you will, you get up!