A group of 35 summer interns tell the story of Ashoka in their own words
YV & Ashoka
Youth Venture was established in 1996 and grew out of Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs—men and women with system changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. Since 1981, Ashoka has elected over 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with living stipends, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in more than 70 countries.
Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss and improving systems, inventing new approaches, and creating solutions to change society for the better.
The formative ideas for Youth Venture grew out of experiences of more than 400 of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. Ashoka recognized a strong pattern among these Fellows who were working independently in dozens of different countries and found that:
- Worldwide, many social entrepreneurs relied on young people as resources for their projects. These young people were affecting far-reaching social change and maturing rapidly through practical, competence-building involvement in social entrepreneurial projects;
- Most social entrepreneurs themselves had an experience of taking initiative at an early age, which helped shape them to become innovators for social change; and
- To be able to lead as an adult, one must have practiced being powerful as a young person, and mastered empathy, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership.
The idea that youth could be capable, competent leaders, affecting real and lasting social change became apparent and Youth Venture was launched by Ashoka first in the United States and then internationally.
Together, Ashoka and Youth Venture believe that the greatest contribution we can make to the world is to increase dramatically the number of changemakers today and in every future generation. We envision an Everyone A Changemaker™ world; a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.