Fostering Social Innovation in Youth: Learning from a Youth Social Entrepreneurship Initiative in Ireland

  • Danielle Kennan
  • John Canavan
  • Noreen Kearns


“Wave Change” was a youth social entrepreneurship initiative in Ireland, established to work directly with youth, aged 18–25, to develop the knowledge, skills, and networks they needed to drive social change. Reflecting on the success of the Wave Change initiative, this chapter outlines the value of adopting a mixture of learning approaches that facilitate structured learning, peer-to-peer learning, and project-based experiential learning. While the value of each of these individual learning approaches is outlined, the chapter demonstrates how operating together they create an environment to foster social innovation in youth, providing youth with the opportunity to acquire the requisite skill set to be engaged as architects of social change and to be part of a strong peer network of social entrepreneurs.


Youth social entrepreneurship Youth-led social innovation Peer-to-peer learning Structured learning Experiential learning 



The authors would like to thank the two cohorts of youth participating in the Wave Change Program during 2012 and 2013 for taking part in this study and sharing their experiences with us. The Wave Change staff team also deserve a particular mention since without their support throughout the evaluation period this research would not have been possible. Finally, we are grateful to The Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland for funding this research.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Kennan
    • 1
  • John Canavan
    • 1
  • Noreen Kearns
    • 1
  1. 1.UNESCO Child and Family Research CentreNational University of Ireland GalwayGalwayIreland

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