A 19 year-old CEO selling vegan cosmetics to fund sight-restoring operations in the Pacific Islands.
Young people creating a programme to improve the mental well-being of high school rugby players.
Twenty-somethings so passionate about the society-changing power of fun movement that they’re holding a pre-work weekday dance party for charity.
Two young people from South Auckland whose venture aims to change the way society thinks about work.
A team of young kiwis raising awareness of our mindless use of plastic by going on an expedition in a plastic bottle kayak.
These are just a few of the young social entrepreneurs we at the nationwide New Zealand charity Inspiring Stories work with, who are absolutely amping to change the world. They’re creative, innovative, smart, and determined.
Inspiring Stories is founded and headed by 29 year-old entrepreneur Guy Ryan, the 2015 Young New Zealander of the Year, and panelist at the upcoming Social Enterprise World Forum in Milan. Our organisation’s mission is helping unleash the potential of young people to change the world.
Statistics New Zealand told us recently that New Zealanders aged 15-24 have less of a sense of purpose than older people. That they’re less happy. And looking around at the state of the world that young people have been left, we can see why they feel that way.
But this generation of young people also cares more deeply than any generation before it about social justice, conscious consumerism, and doing good through their work – not just making money. Nielsen research last year showed us that Millennials are more interested in sustainable business and corporate social responsibility than any other age group.
So why do young people feel like they don’t have a purpose? We think a lot of opportunities get missed to help young people realise that passion is most effective when connected to a passion bigger than themselves. And not enough young people are being taught how their passions and frustrations around the problems they face can translate into action, with the right skills.
That’s why social entrepreneurship, innovation, and social change are so important as key skills that we teach young people early on in their education – not as an optional extra.
So how do we help young people connect their passions with a sense of purpose? To help them see that it’s not a hopeless case, and they can change things? And more than that – to set them up for careers, and futures, where they stand on a world stage ready to innovate and create with the best on the planet, as we move to an increasingly freelance and innovative economy?
Here’s one way: we’ve just launched tickets for the fifth annual Festival for the Future, New Zealand’s most epic event for young social innovators aged under 30
From 4-6 September 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand, 400 young people from all walks of life will come together for a weekend of speakers, workshops, creativity, entertainment, and food. They’ll get inspired, and learn the tools needed, to change the world. They’ll meet other people who feel just like them. And then they’ll leave Festival for the Future primed to act.
How do we know? Because some of thousands of young people who have attended previously tell us it’s been a weekend that changed their lives.
Saying young people don’t have purpose and just accepting that, is lazy. We meet, every week, young people who are so determined to change things that they’re starting their own social ventures and enterprises to get it done themselves. They just need to know it’s possible, and a bit of help to get started. It’s up to all of us in the social enterprise, education, and youth development sectors to make giving that help a priority.
Ask us at Inspiring Stories how to do it.
Interviews with Inspiring Stories’ chief executive Guy Ryan, previous Festival for the Future speakers, scholarship recipients, or the other young social entrepreneurs we work with, can be set up through Charlotte Graham: [email protected] or via +6421 344 386.