Being a change agent has no age limit. In fact, at The Coca-Cola Company, we believe young people have an important role to play. So, we partnered with the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum. We recognize that the age of the Millennial is here, and their potential is boundless. By 2050, the majority of the world’s population will comprise of this age group. 

However, to be certain, the Global Shapers are not your typical Millennials. The Global Shapers are young people who are exceptional in their drive to make a contribution to their communities. They are leaders in business, government and civil society. They are infused with the spirit of entrepreneurship. They are relentlessly optimistic. And, they are changing the world.

Igniting the Next Generation of Change Makers

There are nearly 500 grassroots Global Shaper Hubs around the world. Every Hub undertakes a project with the mission of making the world a better place. Their focus areas are as diverse as their global membership – bettering the environment, fostering a new generation of entrepreneurs, kick starting civic engagement, eliminating the educational achievement gap and eradicating poverty, to name a few.

We looked around the world and realized, the best and most powerful thing The Coca-Cola Company could do for these self-starting young people is to help bring these great community projects to scale. And so the Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Grant Challenge was born.

Rewarding Action and Accelerating Impact

In 2012, Elaine Bowers Coventry at Coca-Cola decided to turn the traditional grant application process on its head. Instead of rewarding good ideas, she decided to reward great actions. The grants are not seed funding, but rather, acceleration funding, created to scale proven solutions to the world’s biggest problems.

Now in its third year, this exclusive challenge for members of the Global Shapers Community, offers five $10,000 grants to accelerate the most promising and impactful Hub projects.  With these grants, we believe Global Shapers will be driven to create change in their communities and shape a better future for the world.

This year, we received a record number of submissions, and now, 108 Hub Projects spanning six continents are in the running. And, from now until August 6, the race is on!

Self-Determination – Global Shapers Rock the Vote

Over the next few weeks, we are asking every member of the Global Shapers Community, yes, all 5,000 of them, to take to their computers and vote for their peers at The Global Shapers themselves will self-select their three favorite projects and self-determine the finalists of the competition. We’ve asked them to consider the following criteria:

  • Severity of issue addressed
  • Number of lives positively impacted by the Hub project
  • Efficiency of solution (based on overall return on investment)
  • Scalability (how expandable or replicable the Hub project is)

A Grant Challenge Built for Digital Natives

We designed the competition to highlight one of the key strengths of this generation – socially sharing. Through the Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge’s online platform, Global Shapers can share and promote their favorite projects on their favorite social media networks.

Socially sharing their favorite projects encourages two things that we think are pretty cool. First, it gets out the vote! Second, it facilitates incredible knowledge transfer and the spirit of worldwide teamwork among the Global Shapers Community. We want every Global Shaper and everyone on their social networks to see these projects and to get inspired to take action. And that is how together, we are going to shape a better future. 

Katherine Cherry

Katherine Cherry is a Millennial (intra)preneur @CocaColaCo managing our partnership with @GlobalShapers. Together we #SHAPECocaCola! For more news on the Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge, follow her on Twitter @kacherrycherry