Changemakers Academy is a 2-month social entrepreneurship programme organised by the Estonian Social Enterprise Network and aimed at 14-19 year olds. Intercultural teams work along with a social enterprise helping it bring to life an idea, for which they would otherwise not have the time or resources for.
The teams meet with social enterprises, map projects that they could do together and come up with a marketing plan for it. The teams are then assigned a mentor and together they learn about cross-cultural teamwork and develop their business skills. After this, the youth will have gained valuable skills and an advantage in the labour market with their real-life business experience; and the social enterprises will have had much-needed help in realising their projects.
Thus far Changemakers Academy has worked with the Estonian Union for Blind Masseurs and the country’s biggest re-use centre Uuskasutuskeskus, amongst others. The participants value their newly gained business skills, but what really stands out in this programme are the bridges built between different communities as they focus on the greater good and helping social enterprises: „It was a lovely day, but a bit difficult for me as my mother tongue is Russian. There were moments when I didn’t understand everything, but that is no problem! It was such a fun day! It was good Estonian language practice for me, a very unique experience and I got lots of new connections.“