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The Young Entrepreneurs Organization (YEO) is a professional organization designed to provide support and assistance to entrepreneurs. In 2005, the organization rebranded itself as the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), but some people still know the group under its old name. There are also a number of mentoring and professional organizations with similar names, such as Young Entreprenuer's Organizations on numerous college campuses and Young Entrepreneurs Associations aimed at high school students. Despite the similarities in their names, these organizations are not connected to the original Young Entrepreneurs Organization.
In 1987, a group of entrepreneurs got together to form the Young Entrepreneurs Organization. They were responding to changes in the business climate that led to increasing numbers of individuals striking out on their own, rather than seeking employment with established companies. The founders recognized that many entrepreneurs could benefit from support as they started their businesses and dealt with the challenges that arose, from hiring practices to sourcing manufacturers.
Several different areas of practice were identified as priorities by the Young Entrepreneurs Organization. One was mentoring, using established business owners to provide advice and assistance to members. Mentoring can include activities, such as panels, to discuss common business issues, as well as one-on-one interaction with business owners. Some people serving as mentors were once early members of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization themselves, and many have extensive experience.
Another area of interest is networking. In the business community, networks can make or break a business. By joining a professional organization, people have instant access to networks that can provide contacts and other resources. Social events provide opportunities for entrepreneurial networking, and these networks can also be used for charitable endeavors, such as fundraising.
Opportunities for education are also provided to members. Global tours give people a chance to see business practices in other nations, to interact with members in a variety of industries, and to help people develop new business practices and techniques. Members can also attend seminars and workshops and read trade publications. Education helps people learn how to run their businesses effectively, while expanding business capacity and developing connections and ties to other members.
Membership standards for the Entrepreneurs Organization are periodically changed. As of 2010, members had to be the heads of their own businesses, make more than $1 million (USD) per year, and be under the age of 50. Members are also required to pay annual dues.