Youth Venture

The next generation must think empathetically, lead collaboratively, organize in a "team of teams" culture, solve problems and act on those solutions to succeed in today’s world of constant, accelerating change. Ashoka’s Youth Venture® activates youth as changemakers, working with educators, schools, parents, and companies to create an environment where young people can lead and practice the four core skills that are required to be a changemaker.

A changemaker is any young person who demonstrates empathy, leadership, teamwork, and changemaking while incubating an idea, taking initiative, and bringing about positive change. Youth Venture creates both a supply and demand for young changemakers by working with youth influencers and our ecosystem partners to change how young people grow-up, how students learn and create in the classroom, and how organizations hire staff and engage with youth in communities.

Ashoka started Youth Venture in 1996 by identifying a key insight from a subset of our Ashoka Fellows—seasoned social entrepreneurs—who were working in the field of youth development: one of the most effective ways to improve our communities and the lives of young people is to put youth in charge. We strive to create opportunities for youth that unlock their creative ideas for social good; cultivate spaces for empathy, leadership, teamwork and changemaking; and realize positive social change.

Ashoka’s global Youth Venture community consists of 375,000 changemakers in countries across every region of the world. Our Ashoka Youth staff have decades of leadership in the field of social entrepreneurship and youth engagement programs. Our staff works with change leaders and teams of changemakers across our networks to activate and multiply spaces for young people to master changemaker skills and to shift mindsets in order to promote youth-led changemaking.

Our Youth Venture teams design holistic strategies and experiential youth engagements that integrate changemaking into the cultures of companies, schools/universities, and youth organizations. Youth Venture works with partners to co-create tools and programs that help young people self-identify as changemakers and master critical pathways for thriving as changemakers such as: empathy, collaborative leadership, "team of teams" culture building, and changemaking (creative problem solving).



Youth Venture’s experiential programs and creative strategies for partners ensure that today’s young people—and the youth ecosystem that supports them—are ready and equipped to advance people and the planet. Below is a snapshot of some of our diverse program offerings for schools, universities, parents, and companies:

  • Ashoka’s Youth Fellowship: Ashoka’s Youth Venture teams are working with Ashoka Fellows and partners around the world to search for and select young people who have launched projects that have a social benefit, a strong sense of the Everyone a Changemaker vision, and are actively contributing to Ashoka’s efforts as peer influencers to inspire and lead other young people to become changemakers.
  • Your Kids is an initiative that allows employees and parents to help their kids become changemakers. It also helps to build a changemaker culture within these corporations. This program can also be used with teachers to help their students become changemakers, or with other citizen sector organizations to help their organizations help young people become changemakers.
  • Co-creation sessions for school districts and teacher networks establish an interactive process where Youth Venture co-designs—with education partners and student leaders—ways to build a culture of changemaking within schools. 
  • “Dream It. Do it.” is an experiential process where young people discover their inner changemaker and work in teams to launch social ventures that benefit their community.
  • Parenting Changemakers engages parents in a co-creative process aimed at building a changemaker environment with their kids at home.
  • Storytelling for changemakers activates young changemakers through the lens of creative enterprise and builds storytelling hubs within our stakeholder communities, including universities, schools, and youth service organizations. Through the process of storytelling, youth teams generate changemaker initiatives for the community. 
  • Peer-to peer activation for young people to be changemakers through our Changemaker Societies, or, serving on our Global Youth Advisory Council. 

Youth Venture plays a critical role in realizing Ashoka's vision of an “Everyone a Changemaker” world. Young people who know they are changemakers have the ability to innovate and solve problems that change the world around them.

We see that 80 percent of Ashoka Fellows started their first initiatives before they turned 20. This pattern of early achievement holds for the business sector: a recent study based on Linkedin data for all professionals (400 million persons or 66 percent of all professionals) found that professionals who started something noteworthy in their teens were four times more likely to be entrepreneurs and four times more likely to be top corporate (C-level) executives.

Get more information here.