Staples’ Foundation for Learning and Ashoka, a community of social entrepreneurs, collaborate on a joint Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition, which rewards young innovators who address social problems in their local communities with entrepreneurial efforts.
"Staples and Ashoka understand the value that changemakers bring to anything they do and are heavily invested in helping more people become changemakers," said Gretchen Zucker, executive director of Ashoka’s Youth Venture. "They are critical to the success of any organization, company or community."
The four winners are Rebecca Kantar, Mohammed Berry, Shiv Dravid and Ben Lyon. Each will receive a cash price, consulting from executives and a trip to a Youth Venture conference in Washington, DC.
Kantar helped found Minga, a youth civic organization dedicated to ending the global child sex trade through education; she will attend Harvard in September. Berry, born in Gambia, contracted HIV at age 7 and has wored to empower disadvantaged youths through his programs Aid for Smiles and Speak AIDS.
Dravid was born in India and founded the The Viewspaper, a youth journalism website with more than 4,000 young writers and 150,000 readers a month.
Finally, Lyon created a microfinance organization called FrontLineSMS:Credit while traveling in Uganda and East Timor, and now works on microfinance in Sierra Leone.