Impact is not just a part of our name but an action we carry out in every way possible. One of the programs through which we do this is The Future Founders Fellowship (F3), designed by Impact Toolbox to train teenagers in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Digital skills (LED). Since its inception, the format of the program has evolved, becoming what it is today – a highly adaptable program that recognizes the passion and resilience that youth possess and, focusing on those strengths, works with them to bring about the change that they desperately want to see.
The F3 would accept participants through applications and referrals; then, the fellows would undergo intensive training to strengthen their leadership abilities, broaden their entrepreneurship minds, and develop their digital skills. After the training activities, they would form groups to work on specific projects. These projects, having social and environmental focal points, would be an excellent way for the fellows to directly apply their learnings, as each group would pitch their ideas to receive some money that would fund their projects.
However, In 2021, Impact Toolbox was presented with the opportunity to partner with the Sustainable Development Challenge (SDC), providing an alternate way to deliver the Future Founders Fellowship.
The SDC is an Okanagan-based program that offers a platform for students in Grades 8 to 12 to directly address an issue they care about and contribute to achieving one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a partner/sponsor, Impact Toolbox contributes to the prize money, provides mentorship services, and access to the Sustainable Development Challenge Preparatory Course, a particularly-curated course for SDC participants, covering topics ranging from Solution Analysis to Pitch Deck Creation.
With this new partnership, Impact Toolbox could team up with a youth-focused and change-minded program, merge resources, then enroll winners and other finalists from the SDC into the Future Founders Fellowship (F3). The money won from the competition would still fund the participants’ projects; however, Impact Toolbox’s role, at that point, would be to support the implementation of their projects while incorporating elements of the fellowship’s pillars – Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Digital skills – into the process. It is our second year partnering with the SDC in this way, and we have made tremendous progress so far, with 2021 SDC winners from Kelowna Secondary School successfully launching their online thrift store, Thrifty Thursday, last year.
This year, we are excited to be working with two SDC finalists as they tackle biodiversity loss and inequality issues in Kelowna. One of the strengths of the F3 is its adaptability. While the program now looks different, its pillars of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Digital skills (LED) remain ingrained in how the fellowship is run and delivered. We are looking forward to making possibilities realities and are open to more partnerships with organizations and programs that, like the F3, endorse lasting change that is youth-LED.