O2 has pledged up to £5m into the Think Big campaign, which puts £300 directly into young people’s hands to develop their social entrepreneurship projects.Young people aged between 13-25 will be able to apply for the £300 grants to start or run projects to help their local communities. In addition to the cash, young people will receive training, support and mentoring in partnership with some of the UK’s top youth charities to help tackle the issues that really matter to them. After the initial grant, they’ll then have the chance to apply for a further £2,500 to boost their project. According to the company’s research, a little investment can make a big difference in the hands of an engaged young person. O2 estimates that giving £300 to one young person could deliver £3,300 in terms of return for their community. “Today’s society paints a negative picture of young people in Britain,” says Ronan Dunne, O2’s UK chief exec. “Our customers tell us we should do more to support young people, and this is a totally new approach. It’s not about top-down CSR, it’s about listening to young people and working with them to create social change.” Think Big has been developed in conjunction with two of the UK’s top youth charities – National Youth Agency and UK Youth. “This project will help to combat the negative image of young people in the UK and change how they are portrayed in the media. We need more initiative like the Think Big programme,” comments Fiona Blacke, CEO of the National Youth Agency. We’re big fans of any project that can help ignite the entrepreneurial flame in young people – let’s hope Think Big will help find the next generation of successful business people!
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