First India-Australia Partnership in Entrepreneurship Education
- Melbourne, 7th February 2024 -


Dr Sushil Kumar, Consul General India; Mark Laitflang, CEO Avenues; officials and board members of Young Change Agents, Australia at the offices of Infosys Australia, Melbourne-60
Dr Sushil Kumar, Consul General India; Mark Laitflang, CEO Avenues; officials and board members of Young Change Agents, Australia at the offices of Infosys Australia, Melbourne

In a world-first, a roundtable event was hosted yesterday in Melbourne, Australia, marking the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Avenues, Meghalaya and Young Change Agents, as the first knowledge-exchange in entrepreneurship education with indigenous youth between Australia and India.

This unique Australian-Indian partnership between two youth-focussed organisations, Young Change Agents and AVENUES Meghalaya, aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two nations through innovation education and global learning pathways.

AVENUES-YCA Key Partnership Objectives
o to build entrepreneurial education pathways for Meghalaya and NE indigenous youth
o to strengthen educator capacities in entrepreneurial education
o to support entrepreneurial ecosystem linkages for both organisations in their respective geographies
o to initiate opportunities for collaboration in talent identification and cultural exchange for indigenous youth across the two countries
o to plan and operationalise a pilot programme amongst tribal youth in Meghalaya for an AB testing of the partnership initiative to drive entrepreneurial skillsets programmes for indigenous communities

The India Australia Economic Strategy to 2035 centres education as the main pillar to strengthening the bilateral relationship. Both nations are committed to a deep knowledge partnership, where education, training and research underpin their economic and people-to-people engagement across both countries. The partnership shares the common belief that strengthening entrepreneurial mindsets across India and Australia means youth open up their potential to be global leaders and changemakers.

The roundtable commenced with a Welcome Address led by Aruna Venkatachalam, GM Partnerships and International, Young Change Agents, where she spoke about, “this ground-breaking launch of a world-first partnership between India and Australia - Young Change Agents Australia and AVENUES Meghalaya – two social enterprises that work purposefully across both countries, to spark entrepreneurial mindsets with Indigenous youth, and who are now joining forces to powerfully grow the impact we can create. Together, our partnership will support thousands of indigenous youths across India and Australia to uncover their own potential and become the change agents of their own lives and communities. Entrepreneurial education is the cornerstone of this work.”

An Acknowledgement of Country was led by Tiffani Seaton, Indigenous Engagement Lead, Young Change Agents, who read out a section of Australia’s Uluru Statement of the Heart: Our youth should be our hope for the future. When we have power over our destiny, our children will flourish. They will walk into worlds and where their culture will be a gift to their country.

Margaret O’Brien, CEO, Young Change Agents, shared how, “early, equitable access to innovative and hands-on education is critical. Young Change Agents helps youth become the custodians of their own lives and futures, with entrepreneurship as the vehicle. We are so impressed with the work of Avenues in North East India, which sparks life skills and leadership opportunities with youth, and by way of invitation from the team, we look forward to shaping a program in partnership, with a focus on sparking entrepreneurial mindsets for tribal youth and exchanging knowledge with teachers and communities. The amplifier effect is powerful. It not only takes a village to build a young person’s potential, sometimes they have to find inspiration outside their village and look globally. This is an opportunity to help unearth that potential”.

Mark Laitflang Stone, Founder & CEO, AVENUES Meghalaya, said, “This event is a historic moment in the Northeast India region’s youth development narrative. It marks the first knowledge-exchange intervention for entrepreneurship education for indigenous youth between our nations. Working with Young Change Agents will help us to spark entrepreneurial mindsets in our indigenous youth, in ways where youth build their confidence and realise what is truly possible”.

In his roundtable address, Dr Sushil Kumar, Consul General of India, Victoria, Australia, shared how “India and Australia have long shared a dynamic and multifaceted relationship extending across various sectors including education, skills development and entrepreneurship. The collaboration in these areas is not just beneficial but essential for fostering innovation, enhancing economic growth and addressing the challenges of the 21st century. Our two countries have made concerted efforts to increase academic exchange and research collaboration. Australian educational institutions are known for their research capabilities while India's vast pool of young talent stands ready to engage with global educational standards. I'm sure the partnership being enforced today between AVENUES Meghalaya and Young Change Agents Australia will benefit the youths and educators and will further enhance our educational partnership”.

Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, also wished the association through a virtual address, stating “I am delighted to learn that Meghalaya’s AVENUES is signing an MoU with Young Change Agents, Australia in Melbourne. I have been given to understand that this partnership is aimed at introducing globally recognized entrepreneurial mindsets, skill sets, and toolsets to youth and educators in Meghalaya and North East India through a sustained series of interventions over a two year period. It is truly a historic moment for North East India and particularly for the development of our youth. Through the Avenues-Young Change Agents collaboration, it is our hope that thousands of young individuals in our home, Meghalaya and further in North-East India will be inspired with the spirit of social entrepreneurship, guided by an innovative, integrated education pathway.”

The MoU signing was followed by an immersive roundtable that explored the power of early and equitable access to entrepreneurial mindsets, skillsets and toolsets in a young person's life. The panel featured entrepreneurs and ecosystem representatives such as the Australian India Business Council, Australia India Youth Dialogue, Confederation of Indian Industry, the Social Enterprise Network of Victoria, and the Government of India, all of whom are working purposefully to contribute to the strength of the bilateral relationship between these countries. Several representatives from the media were also present.

The initial phase of the partnership will see Young Change Agents, Australia hosted in Meghalaya by AVEUES to collaborate and contextualise a customised entrepreneurial learning initiative for the youth of the state and Northeast India. The long-term goal of this partnership is to build and enhance entrepreneurial education pathways with young people as they decide on their next life steps in education and employment. The MoU signing will be followed by a similar roundtable event to be held in Meghalaya, India, in the month of March 2024.

The Young Change Agents-AVENUES, Meghalaya partnership is funded by Avenues and supported by the Australia India Business Council, Australia India Youth Dialogue, South Asian Australians Representing Ideas (SAARI) Collective and the Governments of India and Australia.

The roundtable held in Melbourne featured the following noted personalities:

o Ashok Mysore, representative of the Australia-India Youth Dialogue (Advisory Board Member), Australia India Business Council (National Associate Vice Chair) and Infosys (Vice President and ANZ Regional Head - Delivery and Operations)
o Molina Asthana, Founder Multicultural Women in Sport and National Chair Sport, Art & Culture, Australia India Business Council
o The Honourable Consul General of India, Victoria, Dr Sushil Kumar
o Ms. Chandra Kumari, Vice-Consul General, Victoria
o Abhay Mehta, Chief Representative, Confederation of Indian Industry Australia
o Mr Carl Jones, Deakin University and The International Institute of Health Sciences, Colombo
o Mr Sandeep Varma, Founder and CEO SAARI Collective
o Sakshi Thakur, Convenor, Social Enterprise Network of VIC
o Damien Thompson, Steering Committee Member, Australia India Youth Dialogue
o Vandana Chaudhry, CEO of Andisor
o Raji Aiyer, Co-Founder and COO, Appearition
o Kiana Mei, Youth Founder, Kiana Mei Designs, and Delegate, Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2023
o Arjun Agarwal, KPMG High Growth Ventures, Founder @Inaam, TEDx Speaker, Podcast Host
o Parth Gulati, Product Leader, Finder, and Board Director, Young Change Agents

Young Change Agents is an award-winning Australian social enterprise whose entrepreneurship educational pathways and programs have, since 2015, empowered 135,000 young people to recognise problems as opportunities, take initiative and innovate their own solutions with an entrepreneurial lens. Over several years, Young Change Agents co-designed a First Nations entrepreneurial learning initiative alongside First Nations youth, leaders and communities across Australia, that has been tabled in Parliament as a best-practice example and has reached over 1000 youth and adults across five Australian States and Territories. Young Change Agents is proudly partnered with Government, industry, the education ecosystem and communities nationwide.

AVENUES Meghalaya is North East India’s pioneering youth engagement focussed social enterprise. Their interventions for personal excellence have impacted more than 120,000 youths since 2003. Their coaching programmes build self-worth, aspiration and resilience in youth, through government-funded programmes and in-person coaching experiences across campuses, indigenous communities and rural settings.

* This info was sent to by Vikash Singh who can be contacted at iprovikash(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on February 09, 2024 .

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