YSI started, as most businesses do, with a small group of people and a lot of ideas. Although I took part in founding Young Sustainable Impact I am not responsible for our great growth. Everything starts at the beginning, however, as a story goes along you may realize it is not only yours to tell.
I was project-managing a coworking space in Oslo when Young Sustainable Impact kicked into motion. We started YSI after meeting at a leadership program. A free leadership program started by and run by youth – its name was Future Leaders. We started a few people with a lot of energy. We all made a contribution, and together it made a beginning. Nine people who felt the need to turn the words from the COP21 in Paris 2015 into action for youth.
Nine completely different people who shared the same values. We all had different skills and backgrounds. We thought differently, however, there was one pervasive question we asked ourselves that changed everything. The question was: how would you like to contribute? This question originated from the leadership program we all participated at, however, we adopted it as a norm for how we worked together.
For me, this changed everything. What you expect coming into work is being told: do this! For us, it was the other way around. It is pure honesty, we are not sure which task needs to be solved – which task do you find meaningful? This question acknowledges what you may be unaware of, and provides the chance for each individual to take responsibility and ownership of their personal burning challenge. It gives you the chance to offer your resources, whichever they are, to your team. I offered the space I was managing at the time for meetings and my skills in designing.
The tasks I found meaningful in the beginning was ensuring that we had presentation material, and securing our first partnership with an established business. This has changed so much over the year. From working with team members, network, partners, applications, website and more. To helping to organize a small get-together and booking a friend in the startup environment to do a standup at one of our gatherings. That friend turned out to become one of the driving forces for Young Sustainable Impact at the present time.
A person who is given the chance to do everything in their power to make the world better – that is a truly great enabler. From having 100 applications one year and nine people – we went to having 10’029 applicants from 172 countries as well as crew and contributors from more than 25 countries. So what did our small team do when we were unable to process those applicants? We reached out and got 100 people from our network together to assess the applicants. We could only choose 25 out of all those people, however after reading the applications realized that this was not enough going forward. Only a global community will be able to change the world together.
We contacted all applicants and told them we want to work together and build a global community. All people who want to make the earth better through entrepreneurship are Earthpreneurs. Now we have more than 10’000 Earthpreneurs.
So many of those applications made me cry and inspired me because there is so much youth around the world already working to make the world better. Every single one of those 10’000 Earthpreneurs is a significant reason to build our community. For every youth working for the world we have to keep asking: which tasks do you find meaningful? That is for you to answer with your contribution towards global sustainability.
Contributor: Alex Moltzau
Role: Co-founder and creative master
Also: Co-founder of The Worst (A creative agency).