MaRS Studio Y announces the inaugural National Youth Leadership and Innovation Strategy Summit

TORONTO, March 16, 2016 – MaRS Studio Y is spearheading the inaugural National Youth Leadership and Innovation Strategy Summit, bringing together top young leaders and innovative organizations from across the country to architect the first national plan for engaging youth leaders to strengthen Canada’s economic competitiveness.

The summit, scheduled on April 29 and 30 at the MaRS Centre in Toronto, will identify and develop new opportunities for the emerging generation to lead in the Canadian economy.

The unprecedented appointment of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as minister of youth signals the federal government’s desire to prioritize youth policies.

“To address the economic challenges ahead we must create an ambitious innovation agenda, and this requires investing in youth leaders and entrepreneurs with bright ideas that will continue to transform our nation,” says Hon Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Today’s youth will determine Canada’s long-term success.”

The resulting strategy will also provide recommendations on how to train more youth leaders in Canada to adopt entrepreneurial thinking in order to drive social and economic impact.

“As globalization and disruptive technologies continue to impact our economy, we need nimble, adaptive young leaders who can navigate change,” says Lekan Olawoye, Program Director of MaRS Studio Y and former advisor on Ontario’s strategy on youth opportunities. “Our recipe for the future is to bring together key stakeholders from across the country to share successes and prototype new approaches to leadership development.”

“Developing new opportunities for our emerging workforce is a crucial part of Ontario’s plan to create economic growth and jobs,” says Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “We welcome this national coalition and are pleased that MaRS Studio Y has invited us to share the insights we have gained through our government’s work on youth opportunities. We look forward to seeing the strategy that emerges from the summit.”

Summit participants will be selected through a national application process. To ensure that the strategy is designed by those it is intended to serve, the summit is free to attend with flight and accommodations funding available for some participants.

“Listening to the voices of youth and embedding their ideas into our policies is a priority for the Ontario government. We’re excited Toronto is hosting this gathering of young leaders to do the same thing at a national level. Our young people are our greatest resource and their ideas and energy have the potential to drive Canada to even greater heights in the future,” says Tracy MacCharles, Ontario’s Minister of Children and Youth Services.

A national coalition of twenty-five organizations involved in innovation and youth leadership have partnered to present the summit and develop the strategy including Engineers Without Borders, LinkedIn Canada, Loran Scholars Foundation and Venture for Canada. A full list of partners is available here.

About Studio [Y]
Studio Y is an educational experiment designed to develop talented youth with proven leadership abilities. Through a fellowship supported by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Studio Y equips 25 high-performing youth each year with the tools to continue to build their leadership skills. Launched in 2014, Studio Y is expanding to become a national network that not only moulds young leaders, but prototypes a new way of learning.

For media enquiries, contact:
Danielle Klassen
MaRS Discovery District