York University partnership supports social entrepreneurship

Two hands holding black heart

A collaboration between York University’s YSpace and Schulich ExecEd, and Toronto Montessori Schools (TMS), is nurturing and supporting the next generation of changemakers. The TMS Schulich Innovation & Entrepreneurial Experience (TSE) program has been empowering high-school students since 2019 to cultivate entrepreneurial skills and a sense of social responsibility.

“We are delighted to partner with TMS and YSpace on the TSE program,” says Rami Mayer, executive director of Schulich ExecEd. “Together, we have developed a program tailored for high-school students that enhances their business and leadership skills while guiding them to build scalable solutions to real-world problems.”

Recent participants, high-school students Ayden Lee and Lucas Wei, have been awarded a prestigious Global Youth Action Fund grant of US$3,000 for a project called Crew of Care. They developed it with their teammates Evan Leung and Sheng Yang during their time in the program.

The students embarked on their social entrepreneurship journey during the TSE prototype phase, where they together conceived the idea of a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing medical inequality and fostering reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Ontario. Crew of Care’s mission was to create more inclusive health-care solutions by hosting community fundraising events and educational workshops, and collaborating with larger organizations. The team received valuable feedback and mentorship during the TSE experience in July 2023, further igniting the passion and commitment of two of its founders, Lee and Wei, who continued to pursue the project beyond the program and worked to secure financial support.

The original Crew of Care team – Ayden Lee, Lucas Wei, Evan Leung and Sheng Yang – presenting their idea during TSE 2023.

The Global Youth Action Fund, an initiative of the International Baccalaureate education program, supports youth-led projects aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The Crew of Care project stood out to the selection committee due to its potential impact, collaborative approach and commitment to social change. The awarded funding will provide vital support to Crew of Care as the organization continues to expand its reach and initiatives.

Looking ahead, the Crew of Care founders – along with executive team members Vincent Peng, Sebastian Churchill, Shabadleen Sandhu, Amber Kwong and Hussain Ladak – envision partnerships with health awareness non-governmental organizations like Water First, and aim to host city-wide fundraising events and workshops to advance their mission of enhancing health-care access for Indigenous communities.

The TMS Schulich Innovation & Entrepreneurial Experience remains committed to fostering youth-led initiatives aligned with the UN SDGs. The upcoming TSE 2024 program will focus on food security and sustainability, offering students a platform to explore various issues impacting global food systems.

“Since 2019, we have been committed to nurturing the next generation of leaders through the TSE program, cultivating entrepreneurial skills and a deep sense of social responsibility,” says Mayer. “This partnership equips the next generation with the expertise needed to make positive impacts in local communities and to emerge as visionary leaders of tomorrow.”