With the goal of nurturing an emerging generation of young change-makers in Kyrgyz Republic, the International Youth Foundation (IYF), in collaboration with the Association of Social Entrepreneurs (ASE), has launched the School of Social Entrepreneurship. The program is being funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through Jasa.kg, a four-year civic engagement and entrepreneurship initiative being implemented by IYF to cultivate the dynamism and creativity of Kyrgyz youth to build a stable, prosperous, and democratic Kyrgyz Republic.

The school joins IYF’s growing YouthActionNet® global network, currently comprised of 14 youth leadership institutes around the world. Each provides training, funding, advocacy, and networking opportunities to young social entrepreneurs, ages 18 to 29, who have pioneered solutions to urgent global challenges.

“We are pleased to bring YouthActionNet’s proven methodology to youth across Kyrgyzstan,” said IYF President and CEO Bill Reese. “The young social entrepreneurs chosen for this unique opportunity will benefit—not only from specialized trainingbut from the opportunity to connect virtually with their peers around the globe.”

“Today’s youth in Kyrgyz Republic have promising solutions for addressing a range of societal challenges,” said ASE Executive Director Mirbek Asangariev. “Through this special program, they will gain access to the tools and networks they need to fully deliver on their social change visions.”

The 15 youth selected for the yearlong program will receive training in diverse aspects of social entrepreneurship, including business planning, marketing, resource development, and partnership building. Following the training, a panel will identify a select group of graduates to receive financial support to expand their social ventures.

Through publicizing the program and success stories of participating youth, the initiative seeks to raise awareness nationally of the value of youth social entrepreneurship. The 15 youth selected for the program in November 2013 will join YouthActionNet’s expanding community of more than 740 young social entrepreneurs in over 70 countries.