Best Ideas 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solution or proposition for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category, click HERE
GenZapped: Innovate, Dream, Be.
Explain your idea in details:
My business idea is inspired by mine and my peers experience in the public education system. For many of us, school is an expectation. You attend your classes, do your homework, get good grades, maybe copy your friends notes or find answers on Quizlet. We move through curriculum bullet by bullet, not really knowing how it connects to real life, nor when well even use it - not because the information isnt useful, but because we dont go deep enough. We dont spend enough time on each topic to develop a passion, to light that fire inside us that pushes us to uncover every tiny detail, every sliver of knowledge. Too often, students are taught that a high GPA or a college degree is the key and only key to success. Too often, students are taught there is only one spot at the table, one we need to fight each other for. This is simply not true. With an entrepreneurial mindset, my Generation can redefine any field of work, create our own spots at the table and forge opportunities for others. Entrepreneurship skills that will allow students to dive in deeper into interests so they can become passions - teaching them how to network, gain real world professional experience, ask bold questions and find creative answers. GenZapped is a matchmaking service that connects Gen Z changemakers to the resources they need, whether that be mentorship, teammates, seed funding, or even prototyping materials. Our unique value is the double direction, authentic interaction you receive with diverse individuals wildly different from you, whether the differences be geological, political, ideological, or based on background. When you give (e.g., personally introduce a connection, refer a potential teammate, give a piece of advice), you receive points that are given to others for their support.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
GenZapped strives to address the sustainable development objective Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, and Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. We envision our impact as not just connecting the future of education to the future of work, but connecting and offering equal opportunities to Gen Zers across continents to take control of their future and stimulate their communities. Gen Zers are todays 6 to 23 year olds, and we hope to target them all. Quality education does not stop at school enrollment. Our key personas are students with a vision for the future from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, who want to make a change but dont know how, or have the support and resources available. Through our virtual innovation and entrepreneurship support network with a focus on sustainability, GenZapped looks to arm students with the skills to pursue their own quality education. By facilitating dialogue between generations, between socioeconomic status, and between teammates, we prepare students with a mindset, not a skill. Target goals for Quality Education include, increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, while another reads ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. Meanwhile, an Economic Growth target is to Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. GenZapped will be at the forefront of leading a more equitable education system that prepares each student for the workforce. Measures to evaluate success include our website traffic, contributing users, return rate of users, and impact of users in their changemaking. Our impact can be increased through partnerships with educational and service/study abroad programs that reach many youth participants.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
Implementation of GenZapped will come in the form of a website as the primary collaboration platform. Initially, a minimum viable website will be created on Wix, with a rough personal investment of $100 USD. While this model will not have the capacity to store data within embedded forms, external surveys/forms (e.g., Google or Typeform) will be linked onto the user interface. In this stage, we have reached students and mentor users from various backgrounds, and started conversations to create our brand as a hub for innovation in education. Beyond online interaction, at this stage, users also have the ability to be matched with students abroad as a pen pal, to work on a service project together, jump on a conference call to just share passions, etc. Furthermore, opportunities and questions about developing and pursuing various passions can also be posted in our online community. The next step is to establish a system where users can create an account and secure points, which is more viable outside of template-based programs like Weebly. Hiring a professional website designer to build a website can cost up to $10,000, which is our fundraising goal moving forward. This will be accomplished through a crowdfunding campaign (in tangent with a push towards getting featured in media), and grants from partner organizations and foundations. Once the point system is established, GenZapped will reorient our business model to become more sustainable by allowing users to buy points (in addition to working on them), and charging organizations to be features (once we reach 20,000 users). In the future, we envision collaborating with study/service abroad, and entrepreneurship/innovation programs to gain users, by offering free curriculum, free advertising for the organization, and being a free resource for both students and mentors.
My name is Ashley Lin, and I am a 15 year old high school entrepreneur, passionate about empowering Generation Z. When my family moved to the U.S. when I was 5, my parents hoped to give my younger sisters and I opportunities to pursue our interests and make a tangible difference. These same resources/support for Gen Z innovation wasnt readily accessible in Taiwan, much less countries in Sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America. This needs to change. I uncovered my love for business and entrepreneurship through an organization called Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) - an organization preparing the next generation of service-minded business leaders through leadership and career development. Ive served FBLA on the local, state, and national levels, currently as chapter and state Parliamentarian. Beyond teaching me how to run in heels and tie a tie, Ive networked with like-minded peers, powerful mentors, business professionals, and organizations who want to see my generation succeed. One such program was TiE Young Entrepreneurs, a business incubator for high school students. There, I started SummerApp: a matchmaking service for high school students to apply to multiple internships through one application, and for small businesses to vet and hire highly engaged interns. SummerApp went on to sign 10 letters of intents with local Portland small businesses, and place first at the University of Oregons New Ventures Competition and Oregon TYE State Competition. It is these experiences I hope to share, to amplify my voice and the voices of others. To empower my peers to ask bold questions, find creative answers, and innovate on the edges. My vision is one where all students realize their power to address the issues that affect them daily. One where every student is prepared to find meaning in, and create their own future.