This morning at MaRS, Ontario's Youth Social Impact and Leadership Academy "Studio Y" announced its first batch of young entrepreneurs.
The hatchlings, who are from ages 18 to 29, will be put through a nine month long entrepreneurship bootcamp, replete with training and mentorship aimed at turning them into ship-shape soldiers ready to wage war in the "innovation economy."
Studio Y is funded by the Ontario government, which has their own pet industries that they would like the budding entrepreneurs to focus on. The Honourable Teresa Piruzza, Minister of Children and Youth services, was in attendance at Studio Y's announcement. She emphasized the government's interest in finding solutions that tone up the province's food purchase, distribution, and storage processes to make the Ontario Student Nutrition Program more effective.
"Our support for Studio Y will help these youth foster social change, tackle complex problems and become leaders in their communities and in the province," she said.
This young group is the first of many that Studio Y plans to send out into the world; the program is slated to last five years, with a new clutch of participants hatched annually. Each member gets a $25,000 stipend derived from the province's $10 million commitment to the program.
"The innovation economy calls for new solutions and ways of thinking surrounding the future of talent and leadership. Studio Y will help develop our young changemakers and prepare them to tackle the seemingly intractable challenges we face, such as youth unemployment and economic inequality," said Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of the MaRS Discovery District.
The 26 Fellows are deliberately assembled according to a diversity playbook: the group is an even split between males and females, and nearly half are visible minorities. The first year of the program is set to last eight months in Toronto. You can see the group's shining faces emblazoned across the Studio Y website.
"When I moved here as an immigrant, Ontario provided me with opportunities that transformed my life. I feel excited and honoured to be a part of a team that will open doors for dozens of young people across the province, providing them with critical leadership skills that will help equip them for success," noted Hamoon Ekhtiari, Director of Studio Y.