top of page
Promo graphic with the text "Youth Leadership Accelerator" and the YEO 2030 logo with a young man on the left and young woman on the right, both with their arms crossed.

2024 Youth Leadership Accelerator

As a thought leader in the youth economic opportunity (YEO) field for the past 15 years, Making Cents International launched the YEO 2030 Initiative in 2021 which brings together intergenerational changemakers to address key challenges hindering sustainable economic growth and employment for all. 

YEO 2030 builds on the success of our past Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summits under the Youth Economic Opportunities Network (YEON) and our expertise in the youth development field by emphasizing youth leadership and by linking learning to action. YEO2030 includes knowledge-sharing convenings and capacity strengthening that elevate youth leadership, learning from successes and failures of multi-stakeholders to inform YEO programming to achieve SDG 8 that focuses on young people, the planet and prosperity. 

Overview: Youth Leadership Accelerator 

Through Making Cents’ 15 years of experience convening youth professionals and adult stakeholders, we increasingly recognize the importance of shifting power dynamics and building equitable partnerships to advance young people’s leadership role in development. Guided by this, Making Cents is offering the Youth Leadership Accelerator. This accelerator is devoted to building a cadre of youth leaders positioned for funding and partnerships in the youth economic sector that accelerates SDG 8. It also targets young changemakers to provide them with virtual and in-person skill building and experiences, using Making Cents’ annual GYEO Summit in Washington D.C. to offer in-person training, mentoring and networking with partners.    


Making Cents’ GYEO Summit offers a unique forum that brings together youth leaders, international implementing organizations, researchers, and donors working in the youth economic opportunity sector. The accelerator will maximize the Summit to provide youth leaders with direct exposure to relevant stakeholders for advancing their work. The Accelerator program’s virtual component will follow the Summit, providing young leaders with an action-oriented learning experience post-Summit for three months with their cohort.   



The Youth Leadership Accelerator program aims to: 

  • Strengthen youth leaders’ skills in fundraising and networking to advance their organization or initiative.  

  • Enhance youth leaders’ awareness and connection to funding opportunities, networks, and resources that can grow their initiatives or organizations. 

  • Connect youth leaders to peer organizations with whom they can exchange experiences, strategies and collaborate with. 


Who We Seek to Reach   

The program will focus on a cohort of 25 young leaders from youth-led organizations or youth social entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds in the Global South.  

To participate in the program youth should: 

  • Be 18-35 years old at the time of admission. 

  • Be at least a secondary school education graduate and be proficient in English. 

  • Be working on/interested in working on a specific issue they are passionate about in the development space. These issues include youth livelihoods, climate change, gender, inclusion, mental health, digital economy and AI and education. 


Partner organizations and institutions will support the selection and funding of young leaders for the accelerator.  


Program Overview 

The program includes a range of 8-12 hours of in person training time in Washington D.C. as part of the GYEO Summit and contingent on funding, 8-10 hours of session content offered online via zoom.  Illustrative topics to be addressed will include developing or refining a project concept to address a development challenge, how to pitch your idea to donors and use social media, AI and technology for effective partner communication, networking strategies, how to identify and respond to grant opportunities/funding opportunities provided by major donors successfully and mentorship. 


These topics will be delivered through the following different methods that will foster trust and create a safe learning environment in person and virtually: 

  • Guest speakers representing donors, partners, private sector, and industry experts.  

  • Mock donor pitches and networking circles with adult allies.  

  • Use of case studies.  

  • Networking sessions with donors and INGOs.  

  • Peer to peer mentoring and feedback exchange. 



As a result of the program, participants will be equipped with:  

  • Strengthened capacity to cultivate partnerships with INGOs and donors.  

  • Expanded networks of peers, donors, and international organizations. 

  • Understanding of how to develop a proposal and identify donor funding opportunities.  

  • Skills for outreach and effective communications with donors. 

  • Increased knowledge of funding channels in the international youth development field.  


After the accelerator, participants will join the YEO2030 Initiative network of youth and adult stakeholders from 75 countries to continue to leverage resources and connections to strengthen their existing programming or create a new project or social enterprise initiative.  Participants will also be able to share knowledge and resources with other emerging youth leaders in their local networks through the pay it forward model, creating a ripple effect to reach other youth.  


Partnership Opportunities 

Join us as a partner in advancing youth leadership! If you are interested in supporting young leaders' participation in this accelerator, please contact us at 

bottom of page