Our Founders' Story
May 2020 was a very rough month for Canadian youth. The country was in full lockdown and instead of being in school, graduating, or finding first jobs, young people were isolated. Frustrated by seeing the effect this was having, Paul Richardson of Renewal Funds called Andrew Heintzman of InvestEco Capital to talk about solutions and they agreed that their organizations should start a program that engages youth and encourages collaborations toward positive outcomes.
And so, the Youth Impact Challenge was born.
Quick calls were made to like-minded organizations such as Vancity, and pretty soon there was funding to make the challenge viable. Three youth were then engaged to get the word out and make the challenge real. They worked together with volunteer mentors and judges to see Year 1 through to a contest where almost 600 participants from eight provinces came forward with brilliant plans to start businesses or not-for-profits with positive environmental or social impacts. And Year 2 saw over 300 more youth partcipate from even more parts of the country.
The pandemic is in a different phase today, but the need for positive solutions and support for collaboration among smart young people is as urgent as ever. The goal is that the Challenge should become an annual program and that we will involve more youth, and foster more great solutions for our planet and its people. And since starting, one thing has been clear: more than ever, we need innovative young changemakers collaborating on positive, game-changing ideas.
We need to hear your ideas.
The world needs young innovators. That’s where you come in. We want to turn ideas into impact, empowering young people as drivers of change in their communities.
Here’s what we believe will allow us to achieve that mission:
Put resources and support into the hands of Canada’s young changemakers
Stimulate collaboration between diverse youth to solve complex problems
Make innovation equitable and accessible, so anybody can turn ideas into reality
Connect to members of our team for any questions!
Abul Bashar Rahman
Social Media and Events Coordinator