Young Change Agents is going to India!

PHOTO — MBA students and young entrepreneurs from the B.K.Shroff College of Arts (associated with the University of Mumbai). With Margaret O’Brien, CEO Young Change Agents, Ben Marcos, COO Seventh St Ventures, and Dr Anthony Jensen, Cojoint Lecturer of the Business School at the University of Newcastle. Dr Jensen coordinated the students’ visit from India as part of an international social entrepreneurship summer school program.

As an Australian-Indian with a foot in both worlds, it’s very exciting to announce the start of Young Change Agents’ exploration into India! 

We’ve been kicking goals locally – now we’re turning to what international expansion could look like to build our social impact.

Why India?

There are more than 600 million young people under 25 in India. Such a large pool of talented minds is an incredible opportunity for us to support India’s development of youth social entrepreneurship, and in turn, help them create local impact. The uniqueness of Young Change Agents’ model as an access social enterprise complements other providers in the Indian market.

India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. In such a changing context, globally-connected Indian employers increasingly prize leadership, critical thinking, teamwork, tech savvy, cross-cultural collaboration and problem-solving. India’s Economic Strategy to 2035 identifies education as its ‘flagship’ sector, which Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has identified Australia has a strong competitive advantage in. More than 1.3 million Indian schools are sensing they need to shift their approach to embrace project-based learning. We’re hearing from local experts that India’s economy increasingly rewards young people for creating new industries instead of choosing traditional employment. Large Indian businesses and industries also now need to build meaningful social impact into their work.

What does this mean for us?

Considering these shifts we are now asking ourselves, what if we can support young Indians to see problems as opportunities and turn those into enterprise solutions? How might Young Change Agents enable Indian educational institutions and teachers to evolve their students into tomorrow’s social entrepreneurs? How might we help corporates ready to invest in social impact be a catalyst for turning young entrepreneurial ideas into reality?

Thanks to the NSW Government and Sydney School of Social Entrepreneurship, we’ll be able to explore these questions more deeply. Alongside 32 others, we fly to India in late January to be part of the inaugural Young Entrepreneurs International Bootcamp.

Our cohort is an incredible ‘masala’ of entrepreneurial spirit in NSW, with entrepreneurs spanning a diverse range of enterprises and experience. Over four cities and 10 days, I’ll be immersed into India’s thriving start-up ecosystem, enabling me to explore how we expand and scale Young Change Agents. I’ll be mentored by local thought leaders, access industry leaders and strategic partners, visit worksites and dive into India’s vibrant start up environment.

A snapshot of what the Sydney School of Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp will involve.

With any international expansion there are challenges, particularly in a complex country like India with big differences between regions and states. The International Bootcamp will deepen my understanding of what some of those pain points might be and will give Young Change Agents the opportunity to continue validating our work in India. I’ll connect with local networks to help accelerate traction and assist setup. We’ll continue building our market understanding and strengthening our networks of potential customers, mentors and partners.

What’s next?

Our momentum has already begun. Last week, Young Change Agents ran a social entrepreneurship workshop with a group of budding teenage entrepreneurs visiting Sydney, who were looking at turning their family businesses into social enterprises. It was satisfying to validate our innovative learning approach with their positive feedback. The professors and students shared their belief in a strong Indian market for Young Change Agents’ work.

I’m so excited about what the next two weeks will bring. Watch this space for updates!