Ethical Partners supports young social entrepreneurs

April 5, 2021

Ethical Partners Funds Management has committed $20,000 in funding to Not-for-Profit social enterprise Young Change Agents to help ensure all young people have access to entrepreneurial education across Australia.

Young Change Agents is focused on developing the mindset, skillset and toolset of youth aged 10 - 21. They do that through social entrepreneurship programs combined with educator capacity building (train-the-trainer), the amplification of youth ideas, and technology platforms. They equip young people for their future careers and empower them to create their own pathways.

The funding from Ethical Partners Fund Management will fill a specific gap in their $20 Boss program. A key part of this early-stage program is to provide participants with $20 to help them create their first business. For some schools this cost is prohibitive, and this is where this funding will target in removing this barrier to taking part.

“We know from teachers that $20 Boss is an important program that both builds the all-important enterprise skills as well as shows students that they are trusted, and their ideas are good enough to give it a go! They can become entrepreneurs whilst in this safe space and can learn so many valuable skills no matter how well the venture goes.” Margaret O’Brien, Co-founder & CEO, Young Change Agents

“We are excited to be supporting the $20 Boss Program. It is an innovative, social enterprise model, teaching the next generation of leaders how to start a business. We expect many of these new businesses will be in areas of supporting and promoting positive social and environmental change. Hopefully many of the ideas will be self-sustaining and directly and indirectly lead to improvements for society over the long term.” said CEO of Ethical Partners, Matt Nacard

The $20 Boss program is a free-to-access program for all Australian schools. Historically, 90% of the $20 pool given to young people has been returned with this funding able to be then passed on to additional young people in future years. It is part of Young Change Agents’ wider entrepreneurial education pathway program that includes both ideation and execution experiences for Australian youth scaffolded across primary and high school.

More about $20 Boss Program

The $20 Boss program is a free-to-access program that provides $20 to individual students to build a business and a tangible way of supporting them to learn, identify and talk about the skills they are building. The program has been implemented through engagement with teachers and schools, who use the $20 Boss toolkit to guide classroom lessons.

It incorporates real-world learning and teaches students enterprise skills, financial capability and career management capabilities. The $20 Boss program offers students $20 of start-up capital to create their own business, and provides teachers with the free resources required to support an immersive learning experience that focuses on enterprise skills and financial capability growth. Many of these businesses have a social or environmental basis. Between 2015 and 2019, 70,000 students from more than 1000 schools across Australia participated in the program.

The results of the teacher surveys and staff interviews revealed that teachers experienced increased understanding of and confidence in enterprise skills as well as improved capacity in facilitating students’ learning about enterprise skills and financial literacy as a result of the $20 Boss program. The post-program teacher survey data demonstrates that 60 out of 63 (95 per cent) teachers ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that their students developed financial skills by participating in the $20 Boss program.

About Young Change Agents

We see a world where young people:

• View problems as opportunities

• Can make a difference

• Feel empowered to start something good

• Stand up for things that they are passionate about

• Believe that they are good enough to be entrepreneurs, leaders and world changers

We believe that youth-led initiatives such as Young Change Agents provides young people with the opportunity to exercise leadership, build decision-making skills, and increase their ability to work in a team. This approach allows young individuals to develop multiple core competencies, ranging from cognitive to emotional, physical, moral, vocational, and cultural, ultimately contributing to the young person’s sense of self-worth and identity.

While adult led and government organised initiatives target youth with specific problems and behaviours such a drug abuse, we believe that a youth-led approach is the next step forward, as it challenges young people to lead the way by deciding what needs to be achieved and then accomplishing it. Enabling young people to meaningfully engage in initiatives that they create not only makes youth the stakeholders of their immediate future, but of their community’s long-term well-being. The development of these skills and competencies are crucial for preparing young people to both create their own careers and to become innovative employees.

‘I would definitely recommend it, a lot of people are scared to do these sorts of things but being a part of this program and meeting all these new people has definitely helped my confidence and taught me that if you have an idea go and pursue it.” Young Change Agents Youth Participant, Logan, QLD, 2020

“I saw my students in a totally different light. They had lots of great, creative ideas. They were nervous, but they pulled it off! Students were learning about concepts they'd never heard of before or considered. In just a short amount of time the students were able to produce so much - we are incredibly proud of them. Social enterprise is a way for them to not only think about what's good for them, but for their community. It's extended their idea of what a job means. It makes them aware of how they can improve their community, which makes the community a better place to live in!" Educator, Jordan Rivers, Tasmania, 2020

Following the success of pilot programs in 2016, Young Change Agents became a registered charity in March 2017. By December 2020, Young Change Agents has worked directly with over 10,000 young people and now has a national footprint, supporting Australian students and educators across Australia. With the addition of $20 Boss and our National Design Challenge series, Young Change Agents is on track to reach an additional 25,000 young people in 2021.

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