YouthActionNet® was IYF's flagship social entrepreneurship program. The 18-year initiative was launched in 2001 and sought to strengthen and expand the impact of youth-led social ventures around the globe. Over 18 years, it created one of the world’s largest networks of young social entrepreneurs comprising more than 2,100 young leaders in 92 countries.
To identify and support the efforts of accomplished young change-makers (18–29 years old), YouthActionNet® operated global and local 10–12-month Fellowship programs. At the global level, 20 young founders and CEOs were selected annually as Laureate Global Fellows. Each benefited from advanced leadership training, coaching and mentoring, advocacy, and networking opportunities. At the local level, YouthActionNet® supported a network of 24 national and regional youth leadership institutes that provided similar support and services to emerging leaders, while developing the youth leadership sector in their respective countries. While a majority of local institutes were housed in university settings, others were managed by foundations and/or or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Firmly rooted in the environment where they operated, YouthActionNet institutes offered a comprehensive Fellowship experience based on a common leadership development framework.
YouthActionNet® received generous support from Nokia, Laureate International Universities, the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, the Mastercard Foundation, Starbucks, and USAID.
This flagship program achieved substantial results including: