Enterprise skills + self discovery + social impact

Youth For Causes is a catalyst to ignite social entrepreneurism, self-discovery and community leadership among your students.

The ripple effect is felt across the whole school community.

Welcome to Youth For Causes

Are you an innovative educator looking to find creative, hands on opportunities for your students to gain transferrable enterprise skills while being responsible global citizens and giving back to their community? Who could say no to that?!

Youth for Causes is a seven month immersion into the world of social enterprise, where teams of students in Years 9 -11 from across Victoria have the opportunity to get an enterprise idea off the ground for a social or environmental cause they care about.

Participants will be exposed to a range of innovative social enterprises and receive enterprise training, mentoring, networking opportunities, and up to $1,000 seed funding to bring their ideas to life.

Moreover, participating schools will be supported with professional development opportunities for teachers to infuse social enterprise education into the classroom and school.

Program Overview

From April to October 2018, participating teams will:

✔ Go behind the scenes of some of Melbourne’s most inspiring social enterprises and hear from the people who have created them and how their business models are creating massive social impact;

✔ Attend a 2 day bootcamp to dive into choose their social cause and ideate an enterprise;

✔ Participate in 6 social enterprise start up workshops where participants will develop transferable enterprise skills

✔ Attend a 2 day bootcamp to perfect their product and their pitch;

✔ Receive mentoring from a young social entrepreneur;

✔ Receive ongoing support from YMCAs social enterprise team;

✔ Receive ongoing support from a not-for-profit/ charity partner;

✔ Get $1000 seed funding to get their idea of the ground;

✔ Be part of a big Showcase and Celebration event to acknowledge their achievements; and,

✔ Gain practical skills and invaluable experience to apply to both the task at hand and in all of their future entrepreneurial endeavours.

YMCA Victoria will also offer ongoing support to teachers to infuse social enterprise education into the classroom and school.

Fee for Service

Youth for Causes is a social enterprise run by YMCA Victoria. To ensure we can keep up the great work supporting young social entrepreneurs, an investment of $4,000 is associated with having a team participate in the program in 2018. We are happy to work with your school to identify grants, corporate sponsorship and other funding opportunities to cover the costs.

Because diversity and accessibility is important to us at YMCA, we also have some partially and fully subsidised places available for schools to apply for to ensure it is still a possibility for everyone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know how we can make it work for your school or organisation.

Innovative Education

Equip your students with transferable enterprise skills to help them navigate their future! 


“When Ella, Courtney, Eve, Isabella, Mia and Sarah contacted me about their fundraising idea, I was blown away by their enthusiasm, maturity and desire to do something to help prevent youth homelessness.

The girls were genuinely interested in learning about the work we do at Kids Under Cover and Ella was very responsive whenever I made contact with her about the project, an absolute pleasure to work alongside.

It’s not surprising that their project was such a success, all six of the girls involved in producing and selling the Sheltered Lip Balms were more than capable, knowledgeable and possess the required get up and go to succeed. We were delighted to hear that they raised over $4,500 for our organisation and just as impressed with their determination and drive.  Well done to everyone involved in the Youth For Causes Program, this is truly a wonderful opportunity for both the students and their chosen charities.


Kids Under Cover

“The enthusiasm and energy of the students was so inspiring. To see and hear high school students believe in our work as passionately as we do is incredibly galvanising for us. As young people ourselves, we love working with other young people and sharing knowledge and experiences, and this program has created an ideal space in which to facilitate that exchange. YMCA has created an incredibly unique and important program – instilling confidence in the next generation that they have the skills, the resources and the wisdom to create meaningful change in their own communities”

“The level of commitment has been completely manageable. I have asked a member of my team, Ashley Wild, to be the liaison for the students and he is excited to have them in the office next week”.



Meet the Mentors

Each Youth for Causes team is paired with a young but experienced social entrepreneur who will work with each team, supporting them to navigate the challenges and celebrate the wins. Find out more about some of these amazing individuals below.

Marie co-owns a small consultancy called cosurround with David, who is also an YFP mentor. Together they work with for-purpose businesses to activate communities in the most sustainable way possible. Their clients include the not-for-profit YGAP, the B-Corp Education Changemakers and the social enterprise Melbourne Farmers Markets. Marie volunteers with The Climate Reality Project Australia, is a member of the Global Shapers Melbourne Hub and a fellow with the Centre for Sustainability Leadership. She believes that social entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful tools for young people to create a more sustainable world.


Co-Founder, Co-Surround

David co-founded a small sustainability consulting firm with Marie, another YFP mentor. ‘cosurround’ collaborates with purpose led businesses to activate communities. They have worked with the not-for-profit YGAP, B-Corp Education Changemakers and social enterprise Melbourne Farmers Market. David works part-time at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition with a bunch of young environmental activists who are campaigning for climate justice and is a part of the Green Steps program with Monash Sustainable Development Institute. He thinks that youth leadership is a powerful force and can’t wait to see what this year’s young social entrepreneurs unleash in their communities


Co-Founder, Co-Surround

Originally from Austin, Tx, Jackie is the Co-Founder & Editor of Tilt Magazine – a digital magazine for impact entrepreneurs. Having worked with nonprofits in America, England, China and Australia, she is particularly passionate about the potential for business to create sustainable change and supporting grassroots movements. She loves meeting and listening to social innovators who are using their passion to make the world a better place, and believes that with the right tools and support anyone can be a changemaker. On the weekends you can find her reading, practicing yoga and dreaming of her next big adventure.


Co-Founder, TILT Mag

Steph is the co-founder of Ethical Trading Group; a wholesale company with heart, ETG works in partnership with social enterprises from Cambodia to market their goods to the Australian market. Steph also runs an online retail business called Shop Kind; a marketplace built around the simple concept of kindness. Shop Kind specialises in artisan made products by ETG’s partners, as well as other reputable fair trade brands creating great social impact. With post-graduate qualifications in International Development and experience working with education focused NGOs in Cambodia and Australia, Steph believes that social enterprise has the potential to provide economic prosperity and dignity through work for some of our most disadvantaged communities.


Co-Founder, Ethical Trading Group

Michael Johnston is the Founder and Creative Director at Momentary – a video production company that uses storytelling for social impact. After volunteering in Australia, India and South America, Michael realised that there were many people around the world in need and he wanted to do something about it. Whilst studying Media and Communications at RMIT University, Michael discovered his love for documentary filmmaking and the power of storytelling. Upon graduating from university, Michael combined his passions (storytelling, documentary filmmaking and social impact) to forge his career. Rather than making feature documentaries, he began producing short documentaries for charities, and Momentary was born!


Founder and Creative Director, Momentary

Emma has a background in International Community Development and Environmental Advocacy with working connections to Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Previously the operator of Emma Blooms (an ethical florist providing a service that’s more gentle on our earth), she found a way to bring her passion for creating arrangements of edible, in-season, locally sourced, home grown, plantable and reusable flowers/plants and turned it onto her own small business. Currently Emma is the International Liasion Officer at Friends of the Earth Melbourne (a local social enterprise!) and also works in the Community Devlopment Unit here at YMCA Victoria coordinating a program that supports single parent isolated families.


International Liasion, Friends of the Earth