Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, put out a call to youth aged 13 to 23 from the U.S., asking them to submit BIG ideas aimed at changing their communities for good. They received an amazing 428 entries — a 32% increase over last year’s total submissions — which were then narrowed down to the 30 winning teams in three categories, Technology, the Environment and Education. From each category, one team was selected as the category winner. T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation today announced the winners of the 2019 T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, the Un-carrier’s nationwide contest that is mobilizing the next generation of young visionaries. For the second consecutive year, T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation, and
“T-Mobile is all about finding BOLD solutions — and driving CHANGE — and that is EXACTLY what our Changemaker Challenge is all about! This year we received hundreds of amazing entries from inspiring future leaders who have big ideas about how to create a better world and we were totally blown away by what we saw! These youth are going to ensure a brighter future for us all and we can’t wait to help them make their ideas a reality!” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile and president of the T-Mobile Foundation.
Winners receive seed money from the T-Mobile Foundation and a trip to T-Mobile’s headquarters. Here’s how it works:
- Each of the 30 winning teams (ten per category) will receive $2,000 in seed funding.
- In February 2020, all 30 winning teams will convene at T-Mobile’s Bellevue headquarters for the Changemaker Lab, a three-day immersive experience where they’ll meet with mentors from T-Mobile and Ashoka while networking with the other young Changemakers from across the country.
- One team from each category will be selected as the Category Winner and receive an additional $3,000, for a total of $5,000 per winning team.
- At the Changemaker Lab, the three Category Winners will have a chance to pitch their ideas to T-Mobile leadership, and one team will be chosen as the 2019 Changemaker Challenge grand prize winner. That team will be awarded an additional $5,000 in seed funding — $10,000 total! They will also receive a return trip back to T-Mobile HQ later in the year to supercharge their project with further mentorship!
Judges from T-Mobile and Ashoka reviewed submissions based on the following criteria:
- Changemaker Quality assesses preliminary work already put into each idea.
- Creativity measures each idea’s degree of innovation.
- Commitment determines level of devotion to seeing a project through and ensuring a lasting impact.
- Connection determines each team’s ability and openness to working with others in their community.
Projects ranging from apps to robots to political advocacy groups offered solutions around topics ranging from mental health to bee colony collapse to flood warning systems to gun violence prevention. Several proposals aimed at better integrating science, technology, engineering and math instruction (STEM) into U.S. classrooms and prioritizing greater diversity and equity within the tech industry. Notably, most of the top-rated Technology entries were submitted by young women!