Youth Venture Program
Through the Youth Venture program, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley (UWMB/MV), in partnership with Ashoka's Youth Venture, has supported young people in implementating their own ideas for social change into local communities. This program inspires and invests in teams of young people to start up social projects that create positive, lasting change in their communities.
Check out the timeline for a project.
- Youth ages 12-20 who live in the UWMB/MV geographic footprint
(the Greater Boston area and the Merrimack Valley)
- We prefer that youth are affiliated with a youth serving agency or youth group, however this isn't a mandatory requirement.
How It Works
"Dream It Do It" Workshop - Youth attend a one-time workshop where United Way Youth Venture staff help them come up with ideas for social ventures they're passionate about. During this workshop youth participants also learn skills that help them organize their ventures (how to formulate a simple budget, components of a solid timeline, how to manage a team).
Action Plan - Youth must fill out a simplified business plan that we call an "action plan". The components of the action plan are SMART goals, year-long timeline, budget, team member roles and responsibilities, and sustainability strategy.
Community Panel - After the action plan is completed, each group of youth must present their venture to a panel consisting of 3-6 community members. Panelists can be small business owners, leaders of local non profits, corporate employees, young social entrepreneurs, volunteers in the community, etc.
Seed Grants - After passing the community panel, each group of youth receives a seed grant of up to $1000 to help them launch their venture.
Young Professional Mentors - We connect each group of youth going through the Youth Venture program with a mentor team comprised of young professionals from United Way's Emerging Leaders. Depending on the program, these mentors help the young participants with either the planning phase (organizing the venture, filling out the action plan, preparing for the community panel) or the implementation phase (launching the venture).