Community

Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge: go from zero to launch with your idea

by Mirabelle Morah / July 2021

Respecting and recognising the efforts and views of young people across the world, working tirelessly towards sustainable and inclusive economic development, is important to us at SEWF. And the SEWF Youth Forum (27 September 2021), being designed by and for young social entrepreneurs, provides an excellent opportunity for young people anywhere in the world to partake in great conversations, have their questions answered in masterclasses, mentoring sessions and much more. 

In the lead-up to the SEWF Youth Forum, SEWF Youth Forum Partner Social Shifters is running the Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge. The Shifters Challenge supports the early-stage and innovative solutions of 18-30 year-olds around the world. In conversation with SEWF, Tegan Samija who leads the communications activities at Social Shifters answers some of the most pressing questions on what makes the Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge different and why young people should apply. 

An interview with Tegan Samija on Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge and SEWF Youth Forum

About the Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge

“We started the Global Innovation Challenge to help early-stage social entrepreneurs aged 18-30 grow their amazing ideas! We were getting lots of feedback from our Shifters community that people were finding it difficult to get funding for their idea. They felt like they were stuck in a loop – they needed to be at a more advanced stage to get funding, except they couldn’t grow to that stage without funding. We wanted to change this, so we launched the Challenge. 

“What makes the Challenge different is that every single person who enters receives support for their idea, not just the winners! While unfortunately, we can’t give funding to everyone who enters, we made sure that every entrant will benefit. Just by entering, you’ll receive access to our Steps to Startup program, our leading program designed to help you go from zero to launch with your idea. The program will include lots of networking opportunities and the chance to learn from other young social entrepreneurs, as well as live workshops from the Social Shifters team. Entrants will also receive incredible mentorship opportunities to help them develop their ideas with the help of social business experts”. 

On the $10,000 Challenge prize, other prizes and support for the Challenge winners

“Thanks to the incredible support of our global partners, we are thrilled to be offering several different awards and prizes. These include the Global Innovation Award ($10,000 USD), the Global Innovation STEM Category Award ($10,000 USD), and our Global Innovation Regional Awards ($2,500 USD for each award) for the following regions: Americas, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Asia Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa”. 

Applicants will get free tickets to attend SEWF, but why is it so important for them to attend SEWF Youth Forum and SEWF 2021? 

“SEWF 2021 is going to be incredible! In particular, the SEWF Youth Forum is going to be amazing – so if you’re a social entrepreneur or even if you’re just interested in social entrepreneurship in any way, make sure to sign up!! SEWF is a great opportunity to network with other changemakers around the world, learn from leading experts, and get inspired by the global shift to do business for good. We’ll also be featuring all of the winners of the Challenge on stage at the event! I still keep in touch with people I meet at SEWF every year, so it’s a great opportunity to get connected to others doing similar work. As someone behind the scenes who has gotten a sneak preview of what’s to come this year, I’m really excited – the SEWF team has done an amazing job”!

What would make a strong application for the Global Innovation Challenge? Tips on what applicants should be looking out for or doing

“My advice to entrants is to make sure you’re clearly describing your business model in your entry, as this is a really important part of the Challenge – that you have a way to generate revenue with your idea. It doesn’t have to be completely figured out – we just want to see that you have thought about how you could develop a sustainable revenue source to fund your impact.  

My other advice would be to apply even if you aren’t completely confident in your idea or if you’re just starting out – the purpose of the Challenge is to help support early-stage social entrepreneurs like you! And even if you don’t win one of the prizes, you are guaranteed to receive our package of support to help you develop your idea.

And finally, make sure to get your entry in on time! The application is really straightforward – there are just 10 questions. The deadline is Friday, 16 July. To stay up to date, make sure to register for the Challenge and follow Social Shifters on Instagram.


The SEWF Youth Forum (27 September 2021) is an opportunity for young people and changemakers across the world to connect, learn and be inspired by peers and experts. The event is open to under 30s only and is free to attend.

Tegan Samija is part of the SEWF Youth Advisory Group. The group ensures that the plans and programming for SEWF 2021 and the Youth Forum are inclusive, relevant and engaging for young social enterprise leaders, practitioners and other young people around the world. 

Mirabelle Morah is the community and communications manager at SEWF