The Changemaker Challenge is an innovative experiential learning program through Carleton University’s Innovation Hub. In the semester-long challenge, multidisciplinary teams of Carleton students across campus collaborate to develop community solutions that align with at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Carleton students receive support and guidance from coaches, mentors and industry experts. At the end of the challenge, student teams present their solutions at a live pitch competition in front of an expert review panel.

The program is designed around the concept of inclusive entrepreneurship – welcoming students from all faculties with varying levels of experience and knowledge to participate. Whether they plan to start their own business or not, all participants are given the opportunity to build their confidence, learn to articulate their value systems and passion areas, and develop an entrepreneurial mindset – a critical skillset in our rapidly changing workforce.

“This program gives students the opportunity to apply their classroom learning in practical ways, and inspires them to think beyond their direct areas of study. They are encouraged to consider broad, global issues that impact us all, and develop tangible solutions to address these challenges within their local context. The challenge empowers students to lead and contribute to change in areas that are meaningful to them.”

— John Nelson, acting director of Carleton’s Innovation Hub

The Background

The workforce, workplaces and work practices continue to evolve. To be successful in this shifting landscape, students and young employees need to be able to adapt and pivot throughout their careers. They need to adopt an entrepreneurial approach to their careers – one that is rooted in innovation, resilience and agility.

An entrepreneurial mindset is beneficial to students, but it’s also a critical feature of the future workforce. Organizations and communities need innovative, solution-oriented thinkers who can help address the pressing challenges of our time.

Through the Changemaker Challenge, students learn to think like entrepreneurs. They develop ideas – in the form of products, services, digital apps, games, 3D models, policies, and more – that offer viable solutions to one or more SDGs, including climate action, gender equality, and responsible consumption and production. Through this process, they gain the skills, experience and confidence to become passionate leaders who will create lasting change in their organizations, communities, and the world.

Your support is an investment through the Changemaker Challenge toward a more resilient future workforce.

The Rollout

The funds will be used to support initiatives such as the planning and implementation of student pitch events and ongoing mentorship and coaching for student participants.

By participating in the program, Carleton students also receive resources such as:

  • Graphic design support
  • Video content support and experience documenting
  • Physical workspace in the Innovation Hub at the Nicol Building
  • External mentorship from industry and field experts and academics
  • Access to entrepreneurs in residence
  • Weekly expert-led workshops hosted by leadership experts, UN employees and local experts

The Impact

Your gift through the Changemaker Challenge supports individual, community and societal impact.

You are empowering through education – supporting experiential learning that moves beyond the four walls of the classroom and gives students tangible skills and practical experience. You are helping prepare students for their future careers, empowering them to find and explore their passions, and building their confidence. Your support will help them find success, but more importantly it will help them discover their purpose and fulfillment in the types of careers they choose to pursue.

You are helping drive community solutions – enabling students to address real challenges related to inequality, climate action, health and well-being, economic growth, and more.

And you are helping our society prepare for the challenges of the future – inspiring our future workforce to be bold, passionate, and resilient.