Take your climate initiatives to the next level!

Youth Challenge International’s Climate Solutions Accelerator program provides youth in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), aged 19-25, the opportunity to advance their climate action initiatives or green businesses to grow their impacts.

About YCI’s Climate Solutions Accelerator

A 6-month incubator program, YCI’s Climate Solutions Accelerator supports youth Climate Leaders to enhance their skills and refine and grow their existing climate solutions – whether they are community-based initiatives or social enterprises and green businesses.

Grow their skills

through training on building sustainable, climate-focused ventures as well as climate science and traditional knowledge.

Accelerate their climate initiatives

with access to exclusive resources including customized coaching, mentorship and funding support.

Join a climate action network

100+ youth and change makers across the GTHA to learn with and support each other.

Join us as a Climate Leader!

Accelerate your climate solution as a YCI Climate Leader. Climate Leaders get comprehensive training on designing and growing sustainable, climate-focused ventures and projects as well as climate science and traditional ecological knowledge. Climate Leaders also receive customized coaching and mentorship in addition to financial support to help accelerate their climate initiatives.

Through the Climate Solutions Accelerator, Climate Leaders will mobilize other like minded young people to grow the impacts of their projects and social enterprises to drive climate change solutions.

Am I the right fit?

You’ll fit right in if you:

  • Have an idea or an existing solution that has the potential to make a real impact on climate change.
    • If you have an idea, you should be able to describe the specific problem that your idea would address, what evidence you have to support the idea and how you are positioned to make the idea a reality.
    • If you have an existing solution, your solution may be a prototype or operating at a small-scale, you may have a growing project or initiative that you want to formalize.
  • Want to explore how to grow the impact of your initiative and/or make it more sustainable through models like social enterprise and low carbon business practices.
  • Can demonstrate your commitment to pursuing this project or venture – you do not need to be committed to your project or venture full-time, but you should be making regular, consistent commitments to moving it forward.
  • Are excited about the opportunity to engage other like minded young people in your solution – whether through design, implementation or joining your team.    

Am I eligible to apply for this program?

  • You’re 19-25 years old.
  • You live in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).
  • You want to build skills to refine and grow an existing climate solution – whether it’s a community-based initiative, social enterprise or green business.

How do I apply for the accelerator?

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Successful applicants will be contacted within two weeks to schedule an interview. Apply early and don’t miss the chance to participate in this unique incubator and join our Climate Action Network.

Learn more about the accelerator

Do I need to have an existing organization or business to apply?

No, you do not need to have a formal organization or business to apply. To be eligible, you need a well-developed idea and demonstrated commitment to pursuing the idea to a starting point for the accelerator program.

What is the time commitment?

The first 4 weeks of the program require the most commitment as there will be 2 full day sessions per week. After this, there will be 2-6 hours of training (synchronous and asynchronous learning) a week. In addition to structured training sessions, participants are expected to dedicate time outside of training to prototype, iterate and implement your climate solution. This time commitment can vary based on your own scheduling capacities and scope of your climate solution. Participants are expected to invest at least 10 hours a week to pursue their climate solution.

How do I get access to funding?

You will access funds through a grant proposal process which will be evaluated on a set of criteria and approved by YCI before funds are administered.

How do you define green business?

A green business is an enterprise that has a positive effect on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy – a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line: people, planet, profit.

How are you defining a climate solution?

A climate solution can be broadly defined to address, whether directly or indirectly, the causes, inputs and/or symptoms of climate change.

Does my climate solution, social enterprise, green business or initiative need to have a direct and measurable GHG (greenhouse gas) reduction impact?

No. Community-based solutions focused on indirect GHG reduction through awareness raising, behaviour change and mobilization efforts are also considered climate solutions.

Can I participate as a team?

Your participation in the program will primarily be as an individual. The program invests in both your personal leadership and your project. However, there will be opportunities for you to engage others in your project and in the program. Some programming may be made available to your broader team, if applicable.

I see that part of the program is about engaging other young people in the design or implementation of my climate solution. What is the requirement for engaging other youth?

Each participant is expected to engage a minimum of 5 other young people in their project in some way. Engagement can range from recruiting team members to your organization or business, consulting with youth on business and solution design or engaging youth in spreading awareness of and/or access to your solution. The purpose of the program is to harness the potential of youth to drive positive climate solutions, so YCI encourages many different forms of youth engagement to achieve this.

How will the program adhere to social distancing measures?

The Climate Solutions Accelerator program has adapted to operate in a virtual context as long as necessary and will adhere to all recommendations and social distancing measures advised by local and national health authorities. Our trainings, meetings and team collaborations will occur virtually until gatherings of small and large groups are appropriate. All climate solutions projects will be designed with social distancing measures considered.

While we can’t be together face-to-face, climate action momentum must continue. We will work together to design creative community-based climate solutions while keeping safe.

“YCI showed me that I can actually have an impact on things… I felt like there was indeed no limit to what we can do if we just put our minds to it.”

– YCI Climate Action Network member

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