Guwahati: In a world-first, a roundtable event was hosted recently in Australia’s Melbourne, marking the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Meghalaya’s Avenues and Australia’s Young Change Agents (YCA), as the first knowledge exchange in entrepreneurship education with indigenous youth between Australia and India.
This unique Australian-Indian partnership between the two youth-focused organisations aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two nations through innovation education and global learning pathways.
The key objectives of the Avenues and YCA partnership are to build entrepreneurial education pathways for Meghalaya and indigenous youth of the Northeast, strengthen educator capacities in entrepreneurial education and support entrepreneurial ecosystem linkages for both organisations in their respective geographies.
It further aims to initiate opportunities for collaboration in talent identification and cultural exchange for indigenous youth across the two countries and to plan and operationalise a pilot programme amongst tribal youth in Meghalaya for an A/B testing of the partnership initiative to drive entrepreneurial stext sets programmes for the indigenous communities.
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The India-Australia Economic Strategy to 2035 centres education as the main pillar to strengthening the bilateral relationship. Both nations are committed to a deep knowledge partnership, where education, training and research underpin their economic and people-to-people engagement across both countries.
The partnership shares the common belief that strengthening entrepreneurial mindsets across India and Australia means youth open up their potential to be global leaders and changemakers.
On signing the MoU, YCA’s General Manager, of Partnerships and International, Aruna Venkatachalam said, “This groundbreaking launch of a world-first partnership between India and Australia, the YCA and Avenues, two social enterprises, that work purposefully across both countries, to spark entrepreneurial mindsets with indigenous youth, and who are now joining forces to powerfully grow the impact we can create.”
“Together, our partnership will support thousands of indigenous youth across India and Australia to uncover their potential and become the change agents of their own lives and communities. Entrepreneurial education is the cornerstone of this work,” Venkatachalam added.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Avenues, Mark Laitflang Stone said, “This event is a historic moment in Northeast India’s youth development narrative. It marks the first knowledge exchange intervention for entrepreneurship education for indigenous youth between our nations. Working with YCA will help us to spark entrepreneurial mindsets in our indigenous youth, in ways where youth build their confidence and realise what is truly possible.”
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma also wished the association through a virtual address, stating, “I am delighted to learn that Meghalaya’s Avenues is signing an MoU with Australia’s YCA. I understand that this partnership aims to introduce globally recognised entrepreneurial mindsets, stextsets and toolsets to youth and educators in Meghalaya and Northeast India through a sustained series of interventions over two years.”
“It is truly a historic moment for the Northeast and particularly for the development of our youth. Through the Avenues-YCA collaboration, we hope that thousands of young individuals in Meghalaya and Northeast will be inspired with the spirit of social entrepreneurship, guided by an innovative and integrated education pathway,” the Chief Minister added.
The MoU signing was followed by an immersive roundtable event that explored the power of early and equitable access to entrepreneurial mindsets, stextsets and toolsets in a young person’s life. The panel featured entrepreneurs and ecosystem representatives, all working purposefully to contribute to the strength of the bilateral relationship between these countries.
The initial phase of the partnership will see YCA hosted in Meghalaya by Avenues to collaborate and contextualise a customised entrepreneurial learning initiative for the youth of Meghalaya and the Northeast.
The long-term goal of this partnership is to build and enhance entrepreneurial education pathways with young people as they decide on their next life steps in education and employment. The MoU signing will be followed by a similar roundtable event to be held in Meghalaya in March 2024.
The YCA is an award-winning Australian social enterprise whose entrepreneurship educational pathways and programs have, since 2015, empowered 135,000 young people to recognise problems as opportunities, take the initiative and innovate their solutions with an entrepreneurial lens.
Over the years, YCA co-designed a First Nations entrepreneurial learning alongside First Nations Youth, leaders and communities across Australia that has been tabled in Parliament as a best-practice example and has reached over 1,000 youth and adults across five Australian states and territories. YCA is proudly partnered with the government, industry, the education ecosystem and communities nationwide.
On the other hand, the Avenues is Northeast India’s pioneering youth engagement-focused social enterprise. Their interventions for personal excellence have impacted more than 120,000 youths since 2003. Their coaching programmes build self-worth, aspiration and resilience in youth, through in-person coaching experiences across campuses, indigenous communities and rural settings.