Social Spark- cultivating a socially conscious and entrepreneurial spirit in youth

Here’s a guest piece from Social Spark: Our society is continuing to face challenges. Yet, when it comes to developing solutions, youth are often overlooked despite being curious, resourceful, and passionate. Young people have the potential to not only be leaders of the future, but also change-makers of the present if empowered through appropriate training and guidance. Presenting Social Spark Social Spark is a non-profit that aims to spark change by cultivating a socially conscious and entrepreneurial spirit in youth. Through our various programs, we are: • Promoting the pursuit of sustainable solutions to complex social issues • Engaging youth through hands-on opportunities to exercise their creativity, knowledge, and passion • Training the next generation of promising social entrepreneurs and leaders For 2012, we have partnered with the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and Western University to deliver our program through hubs on their respective campuses. Guided by a central managing team, each of our hubs will provide Social Spark members the following: A monthly speaker series to inspire members on the topics of shared value, and social innovation and entrepreneurship. Our online platform will also provide resources to allow Canadian students to learn about what it takes to create social change. Case competitions and relevant job postings will be made available to all members. The case competition will allow members to apply critical thinking and social innovation to existing business problems. Internships will also provide members the opportunity to work closely with our partners. Our Social Venture Challenge (SVC) will feature 9 teams, 3 at each hub, participating in an intensive 8-month program with the goal of creating thriving social ventures. Participants will be provided with over 90 hours of hands-on mentorship and education from experienced professors and practitioners, as well as access to funding and the opportunity to pitch to investors.

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