When it comes to building a successful social venture, good ideas, creativity and drive go a long way. But without networks and contacts, the uphill climb can be especially steep.
In an effort to give emerging social innovators the leg-up they need, the Centre for Social Innovation
(CSI) has announced that the Youth Agents of Change Program
will be offered for a third year.
The 20 successful applicants will spend the year building their enterprises and becoming part of the CSI family. In addition to desk space and access to CSI resources, the winners will receive tailored mentorship, as well as opportunities to build networks and contacts throughout the year.
"Young people—like all people—need access to learning and development opportunities," says Eli Malinsky, director of programs and partnerships at CSI, "but one thing that young people often lack is networks—connections to people in different fields, with different experiences and points of view. The most unique feature of our Agents of Change Program is the way in which we bring young entrepreneurs into our community.... It's these personal and professional contacts that connect people to the resources and knowledge they need, and which often spell the difference between success and failure."
The program is open to anyone aged between 19 and 29 who is building any sort of social venture at any stage in its development (so long as it aims to make "a positive difference in our city and our world"). Last year's agents worked on everything from a nonprofit travel company
and a for-profit program for adults with autism
to developing more efficient energy management systems
Since last year the Youth Agents of Change program has been cosponsored by ING Direct, which has made a three-year financial commitment to the program.
Online applications are available here
. The deadline is May 4. The full list of last year's winner available here
Writer: Katia Snukal
Source: Eli Malinsky, Director of Programs & Partnerships, Centre for Social Innovation