For youth to realize their potential as agents of change social entrepreneurs innovators active citizens
Impactful work requires a strong “why”. We integrate our vision and theory of change in everything we do.
Theory of Change
Providing youth with opportunities to turn their talents and passions into impactful ventures is a key factor when it comes to tackling crucial societal challenges both on a local community level as well as on a global scale. However, thorough research suggests that youth lack multidimensional support to become active citizens and social innovators. The most important dimensions are:
- Lack of role models: Important role models, such as parents and teachers, are often not aware of the opportunities surrounding entrepreneurship and social innovation. This lack of awareness results in little to no encouragement for entrepreneurial activities, or even negative social attitudes that act as an obstacle to getting started. (Schleicher, 2015)
- Lack of skills: Institutionalized education and training programs do not do enough to nurture entrepreneurial attitudes and skills. Despite some recent improvements in this area, they mostly prepare students for paid employment. (Potter, 2008).
- Lack of resources: Young people typically lack human, financial and social capital necessary to set up and successfully run a new project or social business. They are also less likely to have sectoral, managerial or prior business experience compared to older individuals. Moreover, financial markets may be biased away from supporting youth businesses/projects, and youth-owned ventures may also face “discrimination” in product markets, with customers skeptical about the reliability of their products or services. (Schleicher, 2015)
- Lack of networks: Young people likely have limited business networks and business-related social capital. This may have consequences for setting up and running their businesses and building ‘legitimacy’ amongst key stakeholders (e.g. financiers, customers, suppliers). (Schleicher, 2015).
By hosting local events and organizing workshops on social entrepreneurship, running incubation programs to help validate and prototype impact and business models, and nurturing this global community of resilient social entrepreneurs whose stories raise awareness about the field, Social Impact Award addresses all 4 dimensions and directly enables youth to realize their potential as agents of change.
The success of this approach is underlined by our carefully measured impact data. Since its inception, SIA has become one of the world’s largest communities of young social entrepreneurs, supporting almost 10,000 young innovators annually, and fostering over 1,000 ventures from across more than 25 countries in Europe, Africa, and Central Asia.
Our free-of-charge and highly accessible workshops, events, and webinars allow youth to discover the field of entrepreneurship and kick-start their journey as social innovators.
By inspiring youth with stories from thousands of local social entrepreneurs, we raise awareness about social entrepreneurship as a potential career path and vehicle for civic engagement.
We nurture our global community of young social entrepreneurs, experts, partners, and supporters by connecting them with one another and providing them with exclusive opportunities.
We support the most promising young social entrepreneurs with know-how, mentoring, access to networks, and pre-seed funding. We also provide a wide range of offerings to strengthen their resilience.
We work with like-minded organizations who run the SIA program locally and become a part of our international network of hosts.