T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation and Ashoka kicked off the fourth Changemaker Challenge, a nationwide contest that gives young leaders the opportunity to level up their ideas for creating a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future.
Now through March 31, 2022, teens ages 13 to 18 located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with bold ideas for driving digital empowerment, putting equity into action and mobilizing for a thriving planet can enter the Changemaker Challenge online. Fifteen winners will be selected for the chance to win up to $15,000 in seed funding for their projects, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., to participate in the three-day Changemaker Lab later this year. Including this fourth-year commitment, T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation have invested nearly $2.5 million in the Changemaker Challenge since 2018.
“In a world where change is the only constant, T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge is helping young people thrive by encouraging them to become innovative, problem-solving changemakers,” said Janice V. Kapner, Chief Communications and Brand Officer for T-Mobile. “The Changemaker Challenge is a chance for young people to unleash their big ideas to drive meaningful change in their communities. I’m confident these brilliant young minds will pave the way for a better future for us all.”
Here’s how it works:
- Through March 31, teens ages 13 to 18 located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico can enter the Changemaker Challenge via the contest website.
- In May, 15 teams will be selected to receive $5,000 each in seed funding—five from each of the three categories: Digital Empowerment, Equity In Action and Thriving Planet. The winners will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to T-Mobile’s headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., later in 2022 (pending CDC recommendations) for the Changemaker Lab. There, the teams will receive mentorship and guidance from T-Mobile employees and executives, skills training from Ashoka, and other networking opportunities.
- From the top 15 teams, one winner from each of the three categories will receive an additional $5,000 seed funding (for a total of $10,000 per team), and the opportunity to pitch their projects to T-Mobile senior leaders and the T-Mobile Foundation.
- One team will be selected as the Grand Prize Winner and will receive an additional $5,000 in funding (for a total of $15,000), plus additional hands-on support and counsel from their mentors to supercharge their project!
T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation are once again partnering with Ashoka, an organization with more than 40 years of experience supporting 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.
“It is a fact that in the ever-changing and -connected world that is now our reality, everyone must be a changemaker to be able to successfully contribute,” said Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka. “T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation, and Ashoka are working together to ensure every young person can develop this new essential power.”
Nearly 300 applicants entered the 2021 Changemaker Challenge. Sixteen winning teams presented their projects during the Changemaker Lab and T-Mobile awarded not one but FOUR grand prize winners. All teams received coaching from T-Mobile employee mentors and Ashoka experts to help bring their ideas to life, including innovative projects from apps to smart hardware solutions that tackle global challenges around mental health, household waste, lead poisoning prevention and more.
“The Changemaker Challenge was one of the most incredible experiences,” said Khloe Thompson, the co-creator of Project Kares, one of last year’s winning projects that aims to help young people connect with supportive mentors. “One of the best parts of being a part of this program was meeting other changemakers and building a community. T-Mobile and Ashoka did an amazing job of keeping us forward focused as we considered how technology has the potential to impact our day-to-day lives. I also really appreciate that the Ashoka team continues to check in on me – it really makes me feel like they care about my future.”
Individuals and teams with bold, game-changing ideas can visit the contest website to learn everything they need to know about the 2022 Changemaker Challenge.