US carrier T-Mobile has partnered up with social change specialist Ashoka to launch a Changemaker Challenge that calls America's youth to bring their community-improving and world-changing ideas to life, with help from the Un-Carrier. The contest calls for entries from visionaries running from age 13 to age 23, with 25 teams representing different age groups destined to win big and head out to Seattle. Winning teams will receive mentorship, business education, new T-Mobile devices to help coordinate and bring their idea to life, and even some seed money, if needed. CEO John Legere has also announced that he will hand-pick one team to work with him on a one-on-one basis, and be invited to spread their idea to T-Mobile's millions of followers on social media by sitting in with Legere on a special episode of Slow Cooker Sunday.
The challenge will happen in phases. First, qualifying participants will come up with ideas and teams, then submit those ideas. Whether it's a concept, or a single or ongoing community improvement that the team would like to spread or change with T-Mobile's help, almost any idea is welcome. Ideas must be a change for the greater good of a community or the world, and they must be sustainable, which means that they're either feasible to repeat on an ongoing basis or they're a single action that produces ongoing impact. Idea submissions are due before June, and the 25 winners will be announced in July.
According to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, the challenge was born of himself and other T-Mobile staff being inspired by today's youth catalyzing social change. This is part of the reason that the cutoff age for entrants is 23, and entries can start as young as 13. While it could be argued that people all the way into their early thirties could be counted in largely the same crowd in today's divisive sociopolitical environment, the company is looking for particularly young participants for a specific reason. T-Mobile wants to not only help the youth of America bring their unique ideas to life, but also foster them and set them up for future success so that they can continue innovating and bringing positive change to the world, something that Legere says T-Mobile has firsthand experience with in forcing widespread change in the wireless world. T-Mobile is also no stranger to humanitarian and community efforts, making this challenge a next logical step of sorts.