Young entrepreneurs tackle social issues with their ideas

By William O'Connor

TWENTY young teams of social innovators and entrepreneurs from around Ireland were shortlisted to pitch to two panels of YSI (Young Social Innovators) dragons in Dublin and Cork this week as part of their participation in the Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards supported by Ulster Bank.

St Joseph’s Lucan students were among 6,500 students taking part in Young Social Innovators this year, working in teams to tackle social issues affecting them and their communities.

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In Dublin, ten project teams took part in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to a YSI Panel for a share of the €15k social innovation fund. The fund was created to assist teams to implement their innovative ideas to bring about positive change and increase the impact of their project work.

Some also requested mentorship and support from the YSI Dragons in specialised areas such as marketing and finance.

The initiative challenges young people to work within their communities to identify areas of social need and to come up with and implement solutions for positive social change. The teams pitching at this year’s YSI Den addressed a range of social issues including mental health, nutrition, homophobia, road safety and addiction.

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The Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards is now in its 15th year. 450 projects from 211 schools are taking part in 2016, looking at an even more diverse range of issues including integration, equality, crime, health, safety, homelessness, intergenerational initiatives and more.

CEO of Young Social Innovators, Rachel Collier said: “YSI offers a unique opportunity to young peopl,e enabling them to grapple with difficult social issues, advocate reform and advance change. We are delighted to be able to harness the passion and creativity of these young innovators to create real change on issues that matter to them.

“The quality presented at the YSI Den and the professionalism of the young people is inspiring and we look forward to seeing how their ideas progress with the support granted. We are grateful to Ulster Bank for their support and look forward to increasing our impact in partnership with them.”

 

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