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Championing social innovation in South Korea

Jointly funded by Diageo, the British Council and the Social Enterprise Network, Champions for Change is a platform for young people with ideas for businesses with a social focus.

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In May 2011, 220 young individuals interested in starting a social enterprise attended a workshop to launch the Social Venture Competition Asia (SVCA). 20 teams of young people with strong social enterprise ideas were selected for the Champions for Change scheme. They received training and coaching to develop their business capabilities, marketing strategies, and vision for the social impact of their ideas, with the support of mentors from Diageo’s employees over three months.

Nine finalists with the highest potential pitched their ideas to an international judging panel at the Social Venture Competition Asia. The four winning ideas were: the CoinCycle Automatic, a foreign coin exchange that services international travelers returning home and uses the profits to help international refugees; IUM Creative Talent Development, a self-discovery programme through art and culture for young offenders; WeMajor, a network of volunteers who provide college information through school programmes and talks; and The Medics, a group that promotes Chinese food as part of a daily diet to improve health awareness and reduce healthcare expenses.

Engaging young people with a vision

‘We welcomed around 100 influencers from academia and the public sector to our seminars and workshops, and we engaged around 2,000 social-minded young people and members of the general public,’ said Jason Lee, corporate relations director, Asia Pacific. The project was covered on the British Council corporate website, blog and social media.

The winning team attended the Global Social Venture Competition in the United States in April 2012 with a travel grant. Runners up were invited to attend British Council regional training in Bangkok and to become part of the British Council’s regional network of social entrepreneurs.