Deadline: May 18, 2023
Are you a young person with a bold new idea to transform your community for the better? Applications are invited for the Ashoka T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge 2023.
T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation, and Ashoka are teaming up for the fifth Changemaker Challenge, a nationwide contest that gives young leaders the opportunity to take their ideas for creating a more connected, equitable, and sustainable future to the next level.
For young people to thrive in a world where change is the only constant, they need to master the skills needed to be innovative, problem-solving changemakers. Through the Changemaker Challenge, T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation, and Ashoka are committed to helping young people unleash their big ideas to drive meaningful impact.
T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation are partnering with Ashoka because, for the last 40 years, Ashoka has supported social entrepreneurs and young changemakers as they bring new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and build a world where we all realize our power to create change. Together, they are committed to mobilizing, engaging, and supporting the next generation of leaders to create a better tomorrow.
They are looking for bold ideas in the following areas:
- Digital Empowerment – Solutions that help bridge the digital divide, enabling access for all to the digital age and the skills needed to thrive in it. Here are some examples of ideas:
- An initiative to educate teenagers on online privacy and safety.
- A programme to teach senior citizens digital literacy tools.
- Expanding STEM education opportunities for underrepresented communities.
- Creating Wi-Fi hotspots to help kids in schools who have limited internet connection access virtual education.
- Equity In Action – Ideas and solutions that remove barriers and create opportunities for everyone to thrive in an inclusive society. Here are some examples of ideas:
- A club that provides young Black men equal access to literary spaces and increases representation in books.
- A programme to build new communities for Latin American English learners in their schools.
- Creating inclusive, at-home therapies for children with disabilities.
- Promoting confidence in young girls by connecting them with women role models through storytelling and hands-on activities.
- Thriving Planet – Ideas to help improve the health of our planet. Examples of ideas you may submit include but are not limited to:
- Creating a new biodegradable, food packaging alternative.
- An initiative to reduce the environmental impact of batteries through educational campaigns.
- Tackling food insecurity in the Navajo Nation by supporting community members to take control of their food supply.
- A project to prevent plastic waste through upcycling.
- Fifteen finalists will be selected to win up to $15,000 in seed funding and an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile headquarters to participate in the Changemaker Lab later this year. This is subject to change based on CDC COVID-19 safety recommendations.
- Additionally, each of the fifteen finalists will receive ongoing mentorship and skills development.
- Participants must be at least 13 when applying and not older than 18 by the end of the entry period.
- Participants must live in the United States or Puerto Rico.
- Participants must be the founder, co-founder, or hold an equivalent leadership position within the initiative your application represents.
- Individuals and teams are eligible to apply. Up to two participants of eligible ages per winning project (plus ONE chaperone per team is required if any participant is under 18) will travel for the Changemaker Lab.
- One application per initiative and per person will be accepted.
- Previous winners from the Changemaker Challenge are not eligible. If you applied last year and were not one of the winning projects, you can re-apply.
- Applications must be submitted in English.
- Employees of T-MOBILE USA, INC. or T-Mobile Puerto Rico, LLC, their parent companies, affiliates and subsidiaries, joint ventures, participating advertising and promotion agencies are only eligible to compete in the specific challenge in place for those individuals with formal ties to T-Mobile. One can apply for this challenge by selecting the option marked “Yes” for the question “Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?” when completing the application. The eligible relationships to the T-Mobile employee are Parent/Guardian or Sibling.
The selection committee will be looking for Changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, how it runs, and your changemaking story.
They are looking for innovative and creative ideas at all stages of development, which means it can be a young idea or a fully baked one! Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Changemaker Quality: You are a Changemaker! You’ve taken action to make a real difference and are helping others to find their power too.
- Creativity: Whether you’re tackling a new challenge or bringing a different perspective to an existing problem, you’re doing it in a fresh, innovative way that shakes things up and doesn’t stick with the norm.
- Commitment: You’re ready to stick by your project and leave a lasting impact. You may have taken some of the first steps or could just have identified a problem and made a plan, but you are ready to go beyond a one-time activity to make a difference for the future.
- Connection: You are focused on making a difference in a community that is close to you and your experiences. You are open to connecting with others and working together to solve the problem you care about.
In addition to their evaluation criteria described above, the group of finalists will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received and the diversity of the field. Diversity will refer to gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race, and age. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project, its partners, or the individual or team representing it.
For more information, visit T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge.