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The program Entrepreneurs for Social Change foresees the empowerment of youngentrepreneurs at the regional level in a comprehensive manner, for these to be able to induce positive social change in their communities through entrepreneurship and innovative business ideas. By providing viable and innovative solutions to economic and social issues at the local, national and regional levels and by showcasing the benefitsand value of social entrepreneurship to policymakers and other relevant stakeholders,the ecosystem will be strengthened, and young social entrepreneurs will be able to trigger social transformation in their communities, and thereby contribute to sustainable development in the region.

Furthermore, the project seeks to inform the greater discourse on the importance of cultivating and nurturing the potential of social entrepreneurship. Thus, the long-term vision of the project is to explore the opportunities to replicate the project as implemented in the Euro-Mediterranean region and expand it to other regions of the world, e.g. in Southeast Asia, in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Furthermore, the objective is to develop a social entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence that will serve as a hub for agents of change to get in touch with their peers, to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange, and to provide a platform to nurture and foster innovative business ideas and thereby support the development of an environment conducive to social entrepreneurship.

To achieve these objectives, the project builds on the successful pilot phase from 2013-2016, and will bring together a total of 375 young social entrepreneursaged 18 to 35, initially 25 per year for three years, from the Euro-Med region and then about 125 per year from different regions of the world, provided sufficient funds are secured. The aim is to support the development of their social enterprise through training, mentoring, legal support, and facilitate access to innovative financingschemes. This will be complemented by the development of a global media campaign that will make use of local, regional and international media channels, including social media, newspapers, and UN media channels, to strengthen the knowledge and increase the awareness about the value and importance of promoting social entrepreneurship.

For the purpose of this proposed project, a partnership is forged between United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Fondazione CRT, which will capitalize on the respective expertise, specialized skills, knowledge and services each can provide to achieve the objective of promoting youth social entrepreneurship.  Other partnerships will be sought during the course of the project.  Acting upon its mandate of promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID), UNIDO focuses on empowering youth and women entrepreneurs as drivers of innovation to improve their social and economic participation. UNIDO seeks to enhance the entrepreneurial culture within which youth entrepreneurs operate, while strengthening their capacities to realize opportunities in strategic sector verticals with high growth and job creation potential. Fondazione CRT is committed to addressing social issues, including assistance for vulnerable social groups, and supporting economic development, and has thus agreed to support the project on Entrepreneurship for social change.

Efforts will furthermore be harmonized with ongoing initiatives in the region in the field of social entrepreneurship, which will further contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

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