Transforming Young Social Innovators into Young Social Entrepreneurs

Youth are the most innovative people around (it’s a neuroscience thing - can’t argue with that!)
 
There are no shortages of economic, social and environmental issues that urgently need innovative solutions, so why not take advantage of the pool of youth in Ottawa ready to go with great ideas?
 
Many organizations would agree with us and are already offering entrepreneurial development for youth to put their innovations into action, however, most of these opportunities are either positioned at too high a level or are mostly on a voluntary basis for which many youth simply cannot afford. 
 
This is where Youth Ottawa’s Summer Employment Program (with a twist!) comes in.
 
Most of the time, organizations hire youth to work for the organization.  For the first time this summer, we hired youth to do work for themselves. 11 youth will take their pre-existing social innovation ideas and develop social enterprises for long-term success. The idea is that the youth are able to gain tangible skills but also take their great ideas and sustainably transition them from a purely social innovation framework to a more sustainable social enterprise framework.
 
How it works:
 
Business Development Traning 

Youth will receive business development training workshops such as design thinking, human-centered design, business modeling, networking for impact partnerships and storytelling for social entrepreneurs. 
 
Mentorship

Youth will have access to an entrepreneur in residence as well as dedicated time to put the work and skills they’ve learned into action. 
 
Networking Opportunities 

Through a variety of Youth Ottawa events, youth will be able to network and put into practice the variety of skills they are learning through the business development training and mentorship to gain experience for their own social enterprises.

Meet the 12 youth we will be working with this summer and their already-established, youth-led social innovation initiatives:
Abdul Muse 

Initiative: WOKE studios

Woke Studios is a social enteprise that ensures that young musicians who are open minded, have limited understanding of business and are in their early revenue stages, are able to make a successful living out of music.
 
“My goals for this summer are to absorb as much business knowledge and clarity as possible and to use that knowledge to finalize a steady foundation for woke studios.”

Lesley Mayhew

Initiative: “YOUth are community.”

‘YOUth are Community’ is a social enterprise that focuses on youth engagement by providing a directory of resources and organizations that exist in a user-friendly way for youth in Ottawa. 
 
“I am hoping to gain insights on how best to create and establish a working resource that is both engaging and helpful for young people who are looking to either start or bring their activism to the next level.”

Samiha Hossain

Initiative: Camps for Children

Camps for Children designs, facilitates and curates specialized educational and recreational programs for children from low-income families.
 
“My goals for the Workplace Summer Program are to build a sustainability plan for Camps for Children, strengthen my business skills and identify collaboration opportunities with other organizations, I’m excited to be surrounded by creative artists and social innovators.”

Brenda McWilson

Initiative: Empower’em

Empower’em is a grassroots group providing educational programming for women of color and Canadian newcomer women in the city of Ottawa. 
 
“I hope to gain entrepreneurial skills including business strategy goal setting and implementation to grow Empower’em as a social enterprise. I look forward to collaborating with other passionately driven youth in Ottawa who are ready to challenge the status quo.”

Namitha Rathinappillai

Initiative: Urban Legends Poetry Collective

Urban Legends was founded in 2009 and is a non-profit poetry collective that hosts both poetry competitions and open mics in Ottawa. 
 
“What I hope to get out of the workplace summer program are transferable business skills to make the most informed decisions to best grow Urban Legends.”

Liz Clarke 

Initiative: FreedX

Freedx is a women-led creative agency using the power of collaborative artistry to establish women's careers in the creative industry by providing consultations and project management services to the community. 
 
"By the end of the program, I hope to have completed a business and marketing plan. I would like to seek out avenues for grants and funding and network with community sponsors and investors."

Majd, Layla & Adeola 

Initiative: Cuts for Kids

The Cuts For Kids Foundation is a youth-led non-profit that provides free haircuts, access to local services and programs to deserving youth in Ottawa.
 
“This summer, we hope to implement a sustainable plan for the future of Cuts for Kids as a social enterprise. Through engagement and exposure, we hope to design and implement one impactful activity to address some of the challenges we encounter.”

Reine, Connor & Chris

Initiative: Hot Shoe Productions

Hot Shoe Productions is a social enterprise that hires youth to film and edit powerful videos for clients. They combine the talent of young people with professional technology to bring messages to life.
 
“Personally, I’m looking to continue to develop my own professional and technical skills in managing this Social Enterprise and our youth staff, and to gain more confidence as I gain more experience, showing myself every day that I can do this.

Interested in learning more about this program or have any questions? Send us an email!