Searching for Young Social Pioneers
23 May 2016 at 8:40 am
The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has put out a call for the nation’s emerging social innovators, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and changemakers to help build their leadership skills.
Applications are open for the 2016 Young Social Pioneers (YSP) which gives participants, aged 18 to 29 years, the chance to build their business and leadership skills, meet world-class mentors, join a passionate community of innovators and gain access to a free co-working space.
FYA CEO Jan Owen AM said it was the only social change incubator and exhilarator for young social entrepreneurs and innovators in the country.
“We are in a time and a place where we desperately and urgently need new solutions to everything from how we live and work together in communities, through to some of the greatest global challenges of our time such as climate and poverty,” Owen told Pro Bono Australia News.
“Young Social Pioneers is a really incredible opportunity to offer to young people the opportunity to bring their ideas forward, things that they might have been working on, or things that they had an idea about, and give them the opportunity to have a crack at those and see if they can turn those ideas into reality or go to the next step with something that they were already doing.”
Since the program was launched FYA has invested over $1.5 million in 136 of Australia’s young social entrepreneurs and granted over $250,000 in seed funding.
Owen said they have scaled the program in the last six years.
“We had 14 entrants per year for the first four or five years and then last year we decided to dial it up and we brought corporate partners into help… and so we have been able to scale it so now we take 50 participants a year,” she said.
“It’s a huge investment. FYA has invested $1.5 million in this program with our partners and we’ve put out funding, last year we distributed nearly a $100,000 in funding, so that at the back end of this you get to pitch and there is $10,000 for the best kind of pitches or the best ideas that between us and our corporate partners we want to see go to the next level.
“So it is all in this program, it’s all there and it is the only social change incubator and exhilarator for young social entrepreneurs and innovators in the entire country so it’s quite special and unique and FYA has really put a lot of time into building that.
“Our alumni is the largest, most engaged and connected cohort of young entrepreneurs driving change the length and breadth of Australia.
“The program has been shaped by the people who have been through it and by their ideas and feedback, so it is very much crafted for and by this generation of young entrepreneurs and innovators and thinkers and doers and creators.”
FYA will also be launching a new co-working space in mid-June.
“FYA is opening the only free co-working space in Australia for young innovators and entrepreneurs,” Owen said.
“So that is really important so we will have space as well as the program as well as investment at the backend, so we are building out, we’ve got a strong eco-system supporting young entrepreneurs and innovators.”
The YSP program attracts a broad range of people and there are a number of streams that people can put their hands up for.
Owen is excited to see what new talents the younger generation will bring.
“In the past the social sector has been dominated by people with educational background or skills in community development or in aid and international development or in social work and youth work, this generation coming through are lawyers and accountants and tradies, and environmental scientists, you name it, there is definitely a new lot of talent and capability being brought to social change and it is incredible. It is absolutely a movement, and its global.”
Applications are open until 15 June. Apply here.