Teenagers have been taking the world by storm lately, but what if that was the norm?
Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
I’ve always been passionate about social impact and equal rights from a young age, but never understood that I could take action as a teenager. I learned about social entrepreneurship when I joined the team for TEDxYouth@Austin, a city-wide event put together by a team of youth. There, I met students from surrounding schools, was thrown into an environment that consistently sought innovation and creativity, and met youth entrepreneurs who had implemented their ideas to influence the world. These youth empowered me to start thinking outside the box on how I could change the world. I constantly observed problems that my friends and myself were having, and found that youth often feel like their voice is not heard. This is how I came up with the idea to start Threading Twine, a platform that aims to amplify and engage youth voices.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
As I was learning more about youth and their interests, I found that many are interested in politics and activism, but they often face three problems: 1) their voices are vulnerable to adults 2) their voices often get drowned out on large platforms like social media and 3) their schedules prevent them from committing to scheduled activism opportunities. Youth voices are unheard, undervalued, and overlooked- Threading Twine aims to solve this.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Threading Twine is a social impact media company that solves these problems by specifically curating content, where each submission is efficiently reviewed by editors before being published. This ensures quality content is produced that is worthy of being nationally marketed. The editing process is scalable by hiring a Board of Editors and using online channels effectively. Threading Twine’s engagement model for youth provides 4 types of team member opportunities based on their available time commitment.
1) The Executive Team oversees day to day operations and the logistics of content and webinar hosting
2) the Staff Creator Team works under the Content Director to create content (such as writing articles, photographing protests, etc.)
3) Ambassadors are dedicated to spreading the word about Threading Twine in their local communities
4) Creators are individual contributors who have submitted content at least once, but have no obligation to Threading Twine.
We also bring youth together through our monthly webinars where youth and professional activists share their stories and the impact they have made in local communities, as well as help empower viewers to instigate change
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Lisa is in high school, and wants to use her voice to make a difference, and turns to social media to write her heartfelt and educational message about the recent school shootings. But her post gets 3 likes, and so, the defeatedness kicks in because it seems like she’s alone. Little does she know, she is one of 4 million high schoolers who are interested in activism but lack the correct platform to instigate change. This is where Threading Twine comes in. We’re about to begin our second year empowering the next generation of activists. We help Lisa amplify her voice on a national stage. She comes to our website and submits her writing. She goes through two iterations of editing with our Editors, and two days later, her piece is published. She gets actual interactions this time, from youth all over the country. 2 weeks later, they've formed a national activism group through TT.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Threading Twine is unique from its competitors because it is run by youth, for youth. This allows exceptional understanding of the company’s target audience, marketing strategies, and day to day operations. Threading Twine’s engagement model provides different levels of involvement opportunities depending upon available time a youth can commit to the position. Our monthly webinars provide a service to fulfill a need no other company has successfully done. TT's immediate traction is a sign of early-on success, and its proximity to its customer base is much higher than competitors.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Threading Twine generated 20,000 pageviews in our first 9 months of operation, showcasing the need for this type of platform. Additionally, Threading Twine won the 2018 SXSW EDU Student Startup Competition, which comes with a $1,000 investment. Our founder also won the 2017 Quarter Zero Incubator Social Entrepreneur Award. We have had 2 advisors- Kait Brown from Bain & Co., as well as Barbara DiGangi who is a contributor to the Huffington Post as well as a licensed social worker. We currently have 60 creators on our platform, from countries such as the USA, Canada, Rwanda, Spain, and Nigeria.
I have personally developed more confidence and motivation since founding TT because I have seen the way it has impacted my peers. My friends who joined the team have told me how much it helped them express their voice, which has empowered me to innovate more and continue building on our mission
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Threading Twine's goals for the future involve leveraging our current user base to attract more users and team members. This will help increase the amount of content we post and also increase the size of the audience that engages with our platform. We also hope to develop a clear revenue model which will be generated through advertising, book sales, and an app. Threading Twine has generated 20,000 page views in just 9 months of operation, which hopefully enables us to begin advertising soon. Additionally, we plan on connecting into high school curriculums, outreaching internationally, and hosting monthly webinars. Overall, we are also working on developing more efficient and organized strategies for our internal team operations.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
Threading Twine hopes to gain many resources in order to implement our future goals. Primarily, we hope to gain mentorship to help us strategize and build a timeline and figure out how to operate more efficiently. This will help us aim for more measurable goals. We also need help determining better marketing strategies than just social media, so we can reach our secondary customer segments and recruit a larger team. Future marketing will require funding, which is another resource we hope to acquire. Lastly, we need to gain more traction so we can implement our monthly webinars and better help youth activists globally. Threading Twine needs many resources in order to grow in the future, including team members, funding, and mentorship.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
Threading Twine believes the human connection is more powerful than anything else. We have actively reached out to many groups and platforms around the nation in hopes of partnering with them to create more widespread impact. We want to partner with organizations that work towards solving various social impact issues- from women in STEM to mental health.
These partnerships could potentially involve series of content and large conferences a revolving around a joint mission the organization and TT aim to accomplish. This would also help raise awareness about various perspectives on current events. The broad topics Threading Twine aims to cover can help impact Generation Z in a new way. Although we continually outreach to organizations, many of these plans fall through. We hope that by establishing a wider audience, we can gain more credibility in order to partner with others and raise awareness towards specific social issues.
One of our proudest moments was when a youth activist from Rwanda simply found us on social media, and instantly became involved with Threading Twine. We hope to have thousands, if not millions, of youth engage with our platform just like this.
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
Communities of color
Religious minority (non-Christian)
How did you hear about this challenge?
Recommended by others
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?
Quarter Zero (Previously Catapult Startup Incubator)