Thursday, September 4, 2008

Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition

Staples, Inc is proud to partner with Ashoka’s Youth Venture and Changemakers to sponsor the "Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition" – a global search for the most creative and inspiring ways young people are changing our world.

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to all young individuals between the ages of 12-24 and all previously awarded Youth Venture teams. We consider all entries – ideas OR projects –that meet the following criteria:

-Idea or project reflects the theme of the competition: “Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition.” The goal of the competition is to identify innovative solutions that young people are using to make life easier for others. Entries are accepted from young people in all countries.
-Ideas show strong potential for significant or meaningful impact. Projects show potential as well as demonstrated impact.
-Entry form is completed and submitted before the deadline.
-Entries are submitted in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French.

Assessment Criteria

The winners of this Changemakers Collaborative Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:

-Innovation: This is the knock-out test; the idea or project must introduce creative elements or methods to positively impact the community in order for judges to give it a high ranking. For example, the project might use a new approach to tackle a challenge, creative methods to raise awareness of a problem, or innovative strategies to raise funds or engage volunteers.
-Social Impact: It is important that the idea or project has or will have significant impact on the issues it addresses. Some innovations will have proven success at a small level (or are still at the very beginning), while others will have scaled to engage hundreds or thousands of people. Judges will take into consideration how you plan to grow, replicate, and reach big goals.
-Sustainability: For a project to be truly effective it must have a plan for how it will acquire financial and other bases of support for the long-term. In other words it has a good strategy for creating ongoing positive change in the community and engaging partners, as well as a sound plan for transitioning leadership and recruiting team members or volunteers.

Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules

Online competition submissions are accepted until October 15th, 2008 at 6pm, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. Any time before this deadline, competition participants can revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the Changemakers discussion. Participation in the discussion enhances one's prospects in the competition and gives the community and the judges an opportunity to understand one's project more completely. Posting and discussion are encouraged because the exchange of ideas helps social entrepreneurs develop and improve methods to create positive change in the communities in which we live.

There are four main phases in the competition:

-Entry Stage, August 20th – October 15, 2008:Entries can be submitted until 6 pm Eastern US time on October 15th, 2008, and anyone can participate in an online idea review discussion with the entrants.
-Online Review and Judging, October 16 – October 29, 2008: Online review and discussion continues. Simultaneously, a panel of judges who are well-versed in the topic and a group of Ashoka’s Youth Venture staff select the competition finalists.
-Voting October 30th – November 11, 2008:The Changemakers community votes online to select the Global Grand Prize winner.
-Announcement of Winners – November 12, 2008: - The Global Grand Prize Winner is announced. - Up to 25 entries will be awarded Youth Venture grants of up to US$1,000 to launch or advance their ideas. - In addition, four entries from USA and France are named as Staples Prize finalists. Their representatives will be flown to Boston, Massachusetts, USA to attend an awards ceremony on November 20, 2008. One of the Staples Prize finalists will be awarded a suite of Staples products worth US$5,000 to run their venture.

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