Young entrepreneurs from across Canada converge in Ottawa to showcase their socially responsible startup ideas

Social leadership training programme culminates at the Youth Innovation Summit in Ottawa on March 30, 2017

15 young Canadians will come together on March 30th to pitch their most creative socially responsible business models at the first-ever Youth Innovation Summit in Room 200 at Parliament’s Sir John A. MacDonald Building in Ottawa. These exemplary entrepreneurs were selected from 150 young Canadians from diverse backgrounds, all of whom had participated earlier this year in the Active Citizens Social Enterprise (ACSE) training programme.

Developed by the British Council Canada and in partnership with the United Nations Association in Canada, the ASCE project was launched in Canada to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary culminating in the Summit, the programme provided a unique opportunity to these 150 young Canadians from diverse backgrounds between the ages of 18 and 35 to learn about and experiment with social innovation through intercultural dialogue and community-led social development. They gained skills to help them tackle local challenges that align with the UN’s established Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using the ACSE toolkit developed by the British Council. The Active Citizens programme has been implemented in 46 countries worldwide, working with more than 525 partnering organisations, with over 6,232 social action projects launched and more than 155,000 Active Citizens trained.

Fifteen exemplary participants from across Canada have been chosen by a diverse Selection Committee to attend the programme’s Youth Innovation Summit in Ottawa on March 30, 2017. The Summit will showcase their passion and commitment towards community-led social development through creative social enterprise models, while convening high level representatives from the public and private sectors, innovation-focused enterprises and start- ups, social enterprises of all sizes, British Council, UNA-Canada, British High Commission, Youth Councils and UN representatives. It provides a unique opportunity for networking and partnership development, with an audience of over 170 distinguished guests including high-level government dignitaries and the Youth Council members of both the UK and Canada.

“We strive to give young people a platform to share innovative ideas. Provinces across Canada are accelerating the growth of social enterprises, and this Summit in Ottawa is a wonderful platform to empower these young entrepreneurs and leaders,” commented Mariya Afzal, Country Director of British Council Canada. “The British Council’s Active Citizens programme has impacted lives across 46 countries and now 150 young leaders from Canada will join this international network, to share knowledge and best practices. We’re proud to be partnering with the United Nations Association of Canada and the British High Commission to bring this programme to Canada at the occasion of its Sesquicentennial”

“UNA-Canada with a history of innovating in engaging youth – both the best and the brightest and those who are often marginalized from opportunities – is very pleased to be partnering with the British Council on Active Citizens for Social Enterprise.  The Association has engaged Canadian youth in advance of this Summit creating a legacy of practical skills and durable social enterprise knowledge.  This Summit is a culmination of what has been an inspiring process both for some remarkable young Canadians and the team supporting them,” said Kate White, President & CEO, UNA-Canada

“I’m very pleased to be celebrating Canada’s 150th year by bringing together some of its most creative and industrious young talent. The British Council and the UN Association of Canada have done a remarkable job preparing some of Canada’s newest social enterprise leaders to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. I’ve no doubt that the skills they have already developed and the ideas that are sure to flow from the summit in Ottawa will help propel Canada proudly into its next 150 years.” Howard Drake, British High Commissioner to Canada. 

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