Rise Up: Understanding Youth Social Entrepreneurs and Their Ecosystems

Curated Story
Rise Up
This article originally appeared on Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

This research focuses on youth social entrepreneurs who are leading ventures that address pressing societal problems including climate change, gun reform, and social justice. It answers Journal of Public Policy & Marketing’s call for more research in marketing on social entrepreneurship.

Consistent with the mission of Transformative Consumer Research to enhance individual and societal well-being, this research explores how the dynamic ecosystem of youth social entrepreneurs empowers them to rise up to transform people, communities, and the future for the better. The authors partnered with 20 established youth social entrepreneurs who have founded social impact initiatives as well as two organizations that support youth social entrepreneurs, Ashoka and Future Coalition, to develop a framework for understanding the ecosystem that encourages youth social entrepreneurs to enhance people’s well-being and make the world a better place.

This framework integrates the experiences of these youth social entrepreneur partners and extant literature in marketing and related disciplines to provide guidance that can help researchers, policy makers, educators, and parents design an environment to support the success of youth social entrepreneurs.

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Ashoka insight

Youth are “a vast source of innovation, ideas, and solutions” who are providing vital change and leadership on the global climate crisis, social justice, and technology (United Nations 2018). As this UN initiative acknowledges, youth social entrepreneurs have great potential to lead positive change in the world today. Our research contributes to understanding how to realize the potential and success of youth social entrepreneurs by identifying the support they need.

Adult allies can help youth develop the personal agency to act on what they know, what they think, and what they feel. Many of our youth social entrepreneur partners credited parents or teachers with encouraging them. All youth have the potential to create positive social change as long as we as a society bridge the opportunity gap by providing them with the ecosystem they need to fulfill their potential.