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Young 'Changemakers' Have Chance to Win Money for Social Ventures

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If you've got an idea for doing good, take note.

Socially-conscious young entrepreneurs with ventures -- or even ideas for ventures -- that help others have a chance to win money to fund their dreams. Time's running out to take advantage of this particular opportunity, however.

Young "changemakers" who were 13 to 20 years old as of April 10, 2012 have just under a week left to enter the Banking on Youth competition. Young entrepreneurs in 55 regions could win $1,000 in seed money, while others may win even more.

Six national finalists will win a trip to Washington, D.C., in July to attend the annual Global Youth Venture Summit to compete in a pitch-off, with a chance to win a $5,000 audience-choice award or the $15,000 grand prize. Finalists may also land coaching sessions and use a portion of their prize money to enroll in an online, for-credit Social Entrepreneurship College course at the University of Florida.

Sponsored by the Consumer Bankers Association Foundation, banks across the U.S. and the not-for-profit Ashoka's Youth Venture, Banking on Youth is looking for projects with "innovative and creative elements or methods to positively benefit society or a specific community." Note that the venture's positive societal impact could be a company's main mission or a byproduct of the project.

Ideas must be founded on a sound strategy for acquiring financial and other support on an ongoing basis, and also will be judged in part on the comments, tweets and Facebook "likes" they receive.

Individuals and teams have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday June 10, to upload a 90-second video and entry form explaining their ideas.

Several entry videos on the contest site show a broad range of ideas. One project aims to help the environment by processing recycled waste vegetable oil into biodiesel. Another seeks to provide tutors and equipment to formerly homeless children, while one other seeks to organize a school-based anti-bullying campaign.

"Each venture launched by young changemakers will touch the lives of at least 100 people, while preparing the young leaders for a lifelong path of success in school, work and life," Ashoka founder and CEO Bill Drayton said in a news release last month.

Dinah Wisenberg Brin

Written By

Dinah Wisenberg Brin is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She has covered business, politics, healthcare and general news for wire services, newspapers, blogs and other publications.