What’s the difference between capital and lower-case letters? For us, it’s quite a lot.

Over the past 12 months we’ve been making the subtle – but purposeful – change from being ‘YENA’ to ‘Yena’. Same name, different meaning. So what really is the difference?

Well, Yena started out as ‘YENA – the Young Entrepreneur Networking Association’. Quite the mouthful, indeed, hence the use of the acronym ‘YENA’ to save a whole tonne of time and tongue-twisting along the way.

We began as a community, with no commercial mission, simply connecting young people interested in business and entrepreneurship, starting in one city and growing to four cities before deciding to take our social mission and add a business model to it, to enable us to grow and do the same with more people, in more cities, everywhere.

Initially, our focus on young entrepreneurs was what gave us our edge. Our USP as an events community was that we connected the next generation of founders to one another.

To clarify – that is still the case.

 

So what’s changed?

Well, along the way, we created our subscription, providing ambitious individuals, startups and scale-ups the resources, benefits and opportunities they need to grow a remarkable business. However, stopping them from getting access to this when they hit 35 years old, felt wrong for 3 reasons:

  1. It felt discriminatory – why should anyone be marginalised from the support they need to start a business due to age?
  2. It didn’t align with our values – we exist to help anyone, anywhere to start and grow a remarkable business. That doesn’t happen if we cut people out.
  3. It didn’t make commercial sense – stopping someone who loves using your product because they had another birthday doesn’t make good business sense either.

 

So we changed from ‘YENA’ to ‘Yena’ removing the acronym-based name and more towards a noun. A name that can represent a product and a movement. Not the ‘trade body’ feel we were originally giving off and not an end-product that could only be used by a certain section of society.

The change was subtle and experimental, to see how people would engage and react to a small change in communications, in the way our brand name was written.

Over time, far less people have asked the question “What does YENA stand for” because they know now. It’s not an acronym we stand for. It’s deeper than that. We stand for a core set of values that we live and breath every day. Those can be found here.

 

So what happens to our events from here?

While our core product and experience have changed to encompass the ‘everyone, everywhere’ core value we’ll continue to work towards, it’s just as important to us that we deliver on our social impact initiative of providing a safe space for the next generation of ambitious minds to connect – without any worry of judgement or culture misalignment.

To help us differentiate between our core product and our events we’ve also rebranded our events as ‘Rebel Meetups by Yena’ supported by our wonderful brand partners now connecting 5,000 people across 17 cities in 4 continents.

While we certainly don’t expect to be ID’ing people on the door and making sure they’re under 35 to attend a Rebel Meetup, the content and experience of the events will be designed for an early stage demographic and we hope that the community on the whole will respect the initiative’s mission.

Check out our new meetup page for links to the latest event near you (or enquire for details on how to host in your city).

 

So now you know why ‘YENA’ became ‘Yena’ (and I now have a link I can post under any social comment that uses the wrong one ;)).