If you’ve visited the O2 blog in the past no doubt you’ll have seen us banging on about Think Big – our commitment to help young people learn skills, run projects in their local community and generally get on in life.
Today that commitment got the supersize treatment. Telefónica, our parent company, is investing in a big way to help thousands of young people here in the UK and right across Europe transform their lives.
So what exactly are we doing? Well, we’re committing to give young people the tools to write the technological and digital future. From building basic enterprise skills at grassroots level, through to providing more tailored support to fledgling tech start-up businesses, the Telefónica Think Big plan includes a range of initiatives designed to unlock young people’s potential.
Why young people? At a time of high youth unemployment and economic uncertainty throughout Europe, it’s right that our business should play its part in supporting young people to change their future for the better, as well as ours.
As part of the plan, we’ll fund 30,000 young people across Europe, including thousands here in the UK, to develop and lead projects that not only benefit their community, but also help them learn how to be enterprising from an early age.
We’ll provide 50,000 young people all over Europe with the opportunity to learn vital work skills, including 10,000 new paid internship roles across Europe.
We’re building Silicon Valleys across Europe through the launch of Wayra academies (our unique incubator and accelerator programme). The Wayra academy programme supports fledgling young entrepreneurs and start ups helping them grow and develop.
We’re launching our UK academy in London today. So, if you’re a young business involved in the tech or digital space and looking to take it to the next level – you can submit your project to Wayra at www.wayra.org/en/wayra-uk-call-2012. The deadline for submissions is 22nd April.
We haven’t stopped there, we’re even creating a massive European technology festival in Berlin to help bring together the best young talent to share ideas and stimulate innovation.
As a leading provider of digital services, we know that our future success lies in developing innovative products and services. But it’s not enough to simply talk digital, which is why we developed Telefonica Think Big – our plan to drive our business forward by freeing the ideas and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of young people.
It’s fair to say that it’s a bold plan, but it’s a plan that we passionately believe can help to inspire a generation of social action and innovation. And that’s got to be a good thing.