Ashoka to Foster Youth Social Entrepreneurship in Japan

February 22, 2010

Arlington, VA (February 22, 2010) Ashoka today announced a $230,400 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to foster youth social entrepreneurship in Japan. The foundation’s grant will allow Ashoka to introduce in Japan its model of enabling young people to learn the skills of teamwork, leadership and empathy that they need in order to be successful future leaders.

Youth Venture encourages young people to start their own sustainable social ventures and connects them into a powerful global network. The vision of the program is that every young person can be a changemaker. Over the next 7-10 months, Ashoka will conduct a pilot project in Japan where it will launch 10-20 Youth Venture teams – each team consisting of 3-5 youth with adult mentors – that will take on the task of solving problems in their local communities with their own youth-led ideas.  Through this project, Ashoka will be able to reach thousands of youth in Japan to spread awareness of their unique potential to be leaders throughout their lives.

Ashoka’s President Diana Wells said, “Aligned with Ashoka’s vision of forming an Everyone a Changemaker™ world, this initiative underscores that the most important change must be to empower humans, at all age levels, from passive recipients of solutions to initiators and champions of innovation to solve social problems.”

Gregory Guyett, Senior Country Officer of J.P. Morgan in Japan followed, “We at J.P. Morgan aim to play leading roles not only in our businesses, but also in our contributions to the communities in which we live and work.  We are therefore very excited to announce that this year we are helping introduce Ashoka to Japan.  Ashoka has been a global pioneer in developing social entrepreneurship in many other countries and we believe the time is right to bring their innovative approach to Japan.  We are especially pleased that Ashoka's first pilot program here will be Youth Venture.  This unique program will help young Japanese develop the creativity, confidence and networks to launch their own social change projects, better preparing them for success in dealing with the many challenges ahead for Japan and the world.”

Founded in 1996 by Ashoka, the Youth Venture (YV) program invests in young social entrepreneurs and helps them start their ventures, many of which have led to social change around the globe. With the objective of shaping a global culture of youth-led social change, the program has already helped over 3,000 teams of young people in 18 countries worldwide to launch their own social ventures and connect with a global network of like-minded young people. The Venturers start businesses, civil society organizations and informal programs that address all types of social issues, including poverty, health, the elderly, the environment, education, diversity issues and the arts.

About Ashoka
Founded in 1980, Ashoka is the world’s working community of more than 2,000 leading social entrepreneurs. It champions the most important new social change ideas and supports the entrepreneurs behind them by helping them get started, grow, succeed, and collaborate. As Ashoka expands its capability to integrate and connect entrepreneurs around the world, it builds an entrepreneurial infrastructure that is supporting the fast-growing needs of the citizen sector.  Ashoka’s vision is to create change today, for an Everyone A Changemaker™ society to become the reality of tomorrow.  For more information, visit www.ashoka.org.

About JPMorgan Chase Foundation
The mission of JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the philanthropic arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., is to “build vibrant, sustainable communities in our markets across the globe that support, engage, and enrich the lives of children, youth and families.” The mission comes to life through investments in programs that focus on Community Development, Education and Arts & Culture.  Through its education investments, the Foundation seeks to ensure that all children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have access to high quality educational opportunities.

For more information please contact:

Roshan Paul
Ashoka Innovators for the Public
+1.703.600.8273
rpaul@ashoka.org