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Applications have officially closed. Thank you to everyone who applied. We look forward to reading your entries.


Are you a young person with a bold new idea to transform your community for the better?

For young people to thrive in a world where change is the only constant, they need to master the skills needed to be innovative, problem-solving changemakers. Through the Changemaker Challenge, T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation, and Ashoka are committed to helping young people unleash their big ideas to drive meaningful change.

T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation are partnering with Ashoka because, for the last 40 years, Ashoka has supported social entrepreneurs and young changemakers as they bring new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and build a world where we all realize our power to create change. Together, we are committed to mobilizing, engaging, and supporting the next generation of leaders to create a better tomorrow.

Now through April 3, 2022 (8 PM PT), young people ages 13-18 located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with bold ideas for driving digital empowerment, putting equity into action, and supporting a thriving planet, can enter the Changemaker Challenge. Fifteen winning teams will be selected to win up to $15,000 in seed funding, an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile headquarters to participate in the three-day Changemaker Lab later this year (subject to change based on CDC COVID-19 safety recommendations). Additionally, each participant will receive ongoing mentorship and skills development.

Do you have a parent or sibling who works for T-Mobile? If so, we’re running a separate contest for you – the T-Mobile Family Changemaker Challenge. Just fill out the same application form, and make sure to indicate your affiliation with T-Mobile. One Family Changemaker Challenge participant will be eligible to win a $5,000 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Bellevue, WA for the three-day intensive Changemaker Lab workshop hosted at T-Mobile’s headquarters*.

If you have any questions regarding the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, please contact us at CMChallenge@ashoka.org.

* Subject to change based on CDC COVID-19 safety recommendations

Dates

  • February 15: Challenge opens (During this time, participants may submit entries, edit, and resubmit until the entry deadline)
  • March 10th, 8PM PST: Early entry deadline T-Mobile and Ashoka will select one team per category from those that apply by March 10th, 2022 for a cash prize of $1,000. Additionally, all entries submitted by the early entry deadline will receive feedback on how to improve their application.
  • April 3, 2022, 8PM PT: Extended entry deadline.
  • April 4th – April 17th: Application screening and community review
  • May 26th: Winners announced
  • July 25th-27th: Winners attend the Changemaker Lab at T-Mobile’s headquarters in Bellevue, WA.
  • June- October: Mentoring and support for all winning teams

Prizes

After the application closes on March 31st 2022, ideas will be reviewed by representatives from the T-Mobile Foundation, T-Mobile, Ashoka and the Changemaker peer community based on eligibility criteria listed below. Contest results will be structured as follows:

  • Early Entry Prize: T-Mobile and Ashoka will select three winning teams from those that apply by March 10th, 2022, for a cash prize of $1,000. Additionally, all entries submitted by the early entry deadline will receive feedback on how to improve their application.
  • In May, T-Mobile and Ashoka will announce the Top 15 teams – 5 from each of the three categories (Digital Empowerment, Thriving Planet and Equity In Action). Each team will receive $5,000 seed funding and an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington, headquarters in July 2022 (subject to change) for the Changemaker Lab, a three-day immersive experience in which teams will receive mentorship from T-Mobile executives, skills training from Ashoka and networking opportunities with other amazing teams.
  • From the Top 15 teams, the best in each of the three categories will receive an additional $5,000 seed funding (for a total of $10,000) and the opportunity to pitch their project to senior leadership team members of T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation.
  • From the 3 Category Finalist teams, one selected grand prize winner will receive an additional $5,000 in seed funding (for a total of $15,000) and a one-on-one meeting with an influential leader.
  • From the T-Mobile Family Changemaker Challenge applicants, one winning team will be selected. They will also be invited to the Changemaker Lab at T-Mobile headquarters and receive $5,000 seed funding.


Prize Conditions

  • A minimum of one (1) team member of eligible age must attend the Changemaker Lab in its entirety to receive the seed funding.
  • Prize Money funds should be used exclusively to support the purpose of the initiative as outlined in the Entry only.
  • An Applicant may be prohibited from participating in the Challenge if they have attempted to undermine the legitimate operation of the Challenge, including by cheating, deception or other unfair practices.

Focus Areas

This year, we are looking for bold ideas in the following areas:

Digital Empowerment - Solutions that help bridge the digital divide, enabling access for all to the digital age and the skills needed to thrive in it. Examples of ideas you may submit include but are not limited to:

  • Build a mobile STEM education center that travels to different schools, providing students of all backgrounds access to STEM learning.
  • Create a platform that helps users build digital literacy skills.
  • Start a program for young people to create their own mini-digital exchange communities and explore critical global issues together.
  • Create Wi-Fi hotspots to help kids in schools who have limited internet connection access virtual education.

Thriving Planet - Ideas to help improve the health of our planet. Examples of ideas you may submit include but are not limited to:

  • Develop a sustainable product that offers an alternative to plastic bottles.
  • Launch a project to prevent textile waste through upcycling and donations.
  • Improve urban sustainability through a gardening-based program.
  • Develop a product to help people calculate and reduce the impact of their trash.

Equity In Action - Ideas and solutions that remove barriers and create opportunities for everyone to thrive in an inclusive society. Examples of ideas you may submit include but are not limited to

  • Create a program that provides skills and career development resources for young Black men.
  • Develop a program that inspires youth-led crime prevention, utilizing educational, athletic, and recreational activities to build trust and understanding between young people and the police force.
  • Start a program that fosters a more inclusive environment for students with special needs in general education.
  • Promoting confidence in young girls by connecting them with women role models through storytelling and hands-on activities.

Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

  • Participants must be at least 13 when applying and not older than 18 by the end of entry period United States or Puerto Rico residents.
  • Two participants of eligible ages (plus ONE chaperone required if any participant is under 18) per winning team will travel for the Changemaker Lab.
  • One application per initiative and per person will be accepted.
  • Previous winners from the Changemaker Challenge are not eligible. If you applied last year and were not one of the winning teams, you can re-apply.
  • Applications must be submitted in English.
  • Employees of T-MOBILE USA, INC. or T-Mobile Puerto Rico, LLC, their parent companies, affiliates and subsidiaries, joint ventures, participating advertising and promotion agencies are only eligible to compete in the specific challenge in place for those individuals with formal ties to T-Mobile. One can apply for this challenge by selecting the option marked “Yes” for the question “Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?” when completing the application. The eligible relationships to the T-Mobile employee are Parent/Guardian or Sibling.

Evaluation Criteria

The selection committee will be looking for Changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, how it runs, and your changemaking story. Remember, we are looking for innovative and creative ideas at all stages of development, which means it can be a young idea or a fully baked one! Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Changemaker Quality: You are a Changemaker! You’ve taken action to make a real difference and are helping others to find their power too.
  • Creativity: Whether you’re tackling a new challenge or bringing a different perspective to an existing problem, you’re doing it in a fresh, innovative way that shakes things up and doesn’t stick with the norm.
  • Commitment: You’re ready to stick by your project and leave a lasting impact. You may have taken some of the first steps or could just have identified a problem and made a plan, but you are ready to go beyond a one-time activity to make a difference for the future.
  • Connection: You are focused on making a difference in a community that is close to you and your experiences. You are open to connecting with others and working together to solve the problem you care about.

In addition to our evaluation criteria described above, the group of winning teams will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received and the diversity of the field. Diversity will refer to: gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race and age. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project, its partners or the team representing it.

Terms and conditions

Review the full Terms and Conditions of the Changemaker Challenge 2022 for more information about children and youth participation, intellectual property, use of prize money and more.

Data Protection

Applicants' entries will be published on the Challenge platform and accessible by the public. You can identify the sections of the application form that will be displayed publicly by their label “Public”. Entry information may also be shared with third parties for evaluating and processing the applications.  The Challenge Partners will implement appropriate measures to ensure the Applicant’s Confidential Information is not actively revealed to any third-party that is not necessary to such related activities. For more information about how the Challenge Partners will use your data, please see the Challenge Terms and Conditions.

FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen? Are international students studying in the United States eligible to apply?• All applicants must be located in the United States or Puerto Rico when they apply, but U.S. citizenship is not an eligibility requirement. International students studying in the United States are eligible for the challenge

Is it okay if I have teammates outside of the age range?• All applicants must be within the specified age range (13-18) at the time of the application deadline (March 31, 2022) and must have at least one teammate within the age range. You may have additional teammates outside this age range, but they will not be allowed to attend the Changemaker Lab.

I won the Changemaker Challenge last year. Am I eligible to apply?• No. Past winners and Lab participants are not eligible to apply again, even with a new idea.

I applied to the Changemaker Challenge last year but didn’t win. Am I eligible to apply?• Yes! If you’ve applied to the Changemaker Challenge in the past but were not a winning team, you are welcome and encouraged to apply again.

I won one of Ashoka's other youth challenges. Am I eligible to apply?• Yes! Winners of Ashoka's other youth challenges who fall within the age range are welcome and encouraged to apply.

How does the application process work?• Applications are submitted through this online platform. To apply, click the "Participate" button on the top right of this page. This will prompt you to create and activate an account. You can submit and edit your entry up until the final deadline (9pm PST on March 31st, 2022).

Which category (Digital Empowerment, Thriving Planet, Equity in Action) should I choose?• Choose whichever category aligns best with your project! You can change this up until the application deadline if you think you made the wrong choice. After the deadline, Ashoka and T-Mobile reviewers may move your entry into a different category if they think it is appropriate to do so. This will not affect your chances of winning.

Is the Changemaker Lab in-person? When is it?• We are currently planning for an in-person event in July 2022. If necessary, we will adjust the Lab dates or transition to a virtual event in order to keep everyone safe. We're working really hard to create an amazing experience for everyone involved!

My YouTube video is really low resolution. What should I do?• When uploading to YouTube, a low-resolution video is uploaded first. The resolution will improve, but it usually takes a few hours to do so. Be patient! Regardless, you won’t be penalized for the resolution of your video.

Can my team members edit my entry on the challenge platform?• No. The platform does not currently allow multiple people to edit the same entry.

I can't make the dates for the Changemaker Lab. Can I still apply?• Yes, as long as someone else from your team can attend the Lab in its entirety in your place.

Do I need to have a pre-existing project in order to apply?• Nope! Brand new ideas are welcome.

Who do the diversity questions refer to?• The diversity questions refer to the primary representative of your project. These questions are optional and are meant to help us continue to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

I won the early entry prize. Does this mean that I'm a top 15 winner?• Winning the early entry prize does not guarantee that you will be a top 15 winner. But it does mean that you get $1,000 in seed funding to support your project!

Do I have to be a T-Mobile customer to apply to this challenge?• Nope. Anyone ages 13-18 in the United States or Puerto Rico is welcome to apply.

Who should I include as my project references? Do my references need to be T-Mobile employees?• References should be adults who know you well and are familiar with your idea or project. They do not need to be T-Mobile employees. At least one of your references should be a parent or guardian. Teachers and mentors can also be great references. Just be sure to ask them if they’re willing to be a reference before including their contact information so that they’re not surprised when we contact them!

Is there a word limit? •When answering these questions, we suggest you use as many words as you feel necessary to capture to answer the question – sometimes less can be more!

Submission Closed
Timeline ( time)
  • Application Stage
    Started at 15 Feb 06:00
    Ended on 03 Apr 23:00
  • Screening and Community Review
    Started at 04 Apr 08:00
    Ended on 19 Apr 23:00
  • Winners Announcement
    Starts on 26 May 00:00
    Started at 24 Jun 12:05
Open Timeline