Kiran Patel, YIC, providing NZ with free youth development

Kiran Patel, an Auckland-based social entrepreneur, has developed a platform for young people to pursue their passions and make a difference, called Young Innovators Collective (YIC). The group of volunteers that the organisation is comprised off are ramping up their efforts to spread beyond the city limits of Auckland to the rest of New Zealand.

The initiative started in mid-2013 when Kiran went to a creative industries conference in Auckland and noticed that, although the speakers were incredible, there were few young people filling the auditorium’s seats. On the conference’s last day, there was a workshop session where speakers and attendees were brainstorming how they could get the next generation to engage with the cultural aspects of New Zealand.

“Being the youngest there,” Kiran recounted in an email, “I felt the need to stand up and speak for those who weren’t present in saying, that yes, we can accuse the younger demographic and yes, we can talk about change, but if that is all we do, then we are the problem.

“It is what we do with this recognition of the issue [that] is the most important thing.”

Young Innovators Collective is Kiran’s answer to that problem, and it aims to give New Zealand’s youth a voice, while aiding them to participate in more cultural and artistic projects.

“I wanted people to believe in themselves and in their dreams to realise that finding true happiness and fulfilment was to surround yourself with what makes you intrinsically happy,” Kiran said.

“I have had a very privileged upbringing going to private schools for the most of my education, though incredibly grateful, I never felt right in that environment,” the young entrepreneur explained.

“It seemed to have been leaving an impression on students that money was the route to success.

“Due to all of this, students who may have been incredibly talented in music or arts were made to believe that they wouldn’t find success through their given talents and now follow a life that they never wanted to live.

“I want to change that, redefine success and open people’s minds to finding success through their passions.”

The youth-run group hopes to facilitate this by posting 7-8 opportunities a week to the Young Innovators Collective Facebook page, running events for likeminded generation X’ers and millennials, and providing promising individuals with one-on-one personal development coaching.

Many of the social media and engagement responsibilities are placed on the 17 passionate volunteers who call themselves YIC staff members, but in terms of running the communications and projects, Kiran is working on his own.

So far, YIC has received a positive response from New Zealand’s youth. It has been 7 months since YIC launched their Facebook page and campaign for social goodness, and they have since seen 730 people become fans. The group has also held 3 big events, which are now going to be occurring on a bi-weekly basis.

Young Innovators Collective offers a free service to all the young people it works with, but Kiran says that he sees potential in monetising YIC by selling their service to businesses and organisations that want young creatives and innovators to represent New Zealand’s younger demographic.

“Some of the projects we run happen to be businesses that generate income that can be used to then be put back into YIC for other people to use for resources to get their project off the ground,” Kiran added.

“I believe this will be the biggest youth network in New Zealand, that will grow onto an International stage, that will allow for us to grow communities within the world, building a more positive, optimistic, passionate and purpose-driven society.

To get involved, “like” Young Innovators Collective on Facebook or email Kiran Patel directly at kiranpatelnz@gmail.com.

Bullet Points

  • Young Innovators Collective (YIC) is an organisation run by youth for youth.
  • They promote creativity and support artistic projects.
  • They’re self-funded.
  • YIC hopes to spread to the rest of New Zealand with its free youth coaching programme.
  • You can get in touch with Kiran Patel, the founder of YIC, at kiranpatelnz@gmail.com.
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