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The Ambition Accelerator is onto its second round. Photo Courtesy of the Taco Bell Foundation.
The Ambition Accelerator is onto its second round. Photo Courtesy of the Taco Bell Foundation.

Taco Bell Foundation introduces the next generation of young changemakers to be on the lookout for

The top 25 teams of the first-ever Ambition Accelerator, a new social impact initiative, have been announced.

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Earlier this year, the Taco Bell Foundation and global social entrepreneurship leader Ashoka formed a critical partnership to help young people seeking to enact change in their communities and around the world. 

Through that partnership came the Ambition Accelerator, a new social impact initiative that champions innovators in their pursuits to enact change and tackle inequalities. 

From May 3 to Sept. 21, the initiative accepted applications from young individuals and groups between the ages of 16-26 who are looking to enact change through innovative ideas. In the program’s first year, there were nearly 300 applications. 

On Thursday, Sept. 8, the Taco Bell Foundation announced the top 25 teams of ambitious changemakers who have been selected to move on to the next round of the Ambition Accelerator. 

The full-list of inspiring recipients and their changemaking efforts can be found below: 

  • BEING, which celebrates young women as they are, helping them embrace their inner worth and build healthy relationships with their peers, their bodies and their achievements.
  • Black Girls Talk, which provides a safe space and youth development resources for Black girls ages 14-18 to connect, discuss challenges they face, receive mentorship and feel empowered.
  • Cepha, which aims to provide a a low-cost, early-intervention tool to detect Parkison's disease while being patient and provider friendly. The application can be taken in under five minutes to help diagnose the disease in patients with less prominent symptoms.
  • Duniya House, which provides free housing, community and resources to refugees in Greece experiencing homelessness, offering them a foundation to rebuild their lives post-displacement. 
  • Etana is a cost-effective device that enables women without identification, including those without internet or electricity, to create a unique digital ID to participate digitally, financially, socially and politically in public sector systems and services.
  • Equity Reach Healthcare is a mobile application that simulates real life, teaching users health strategies through engaging virtual education modules.
  • Guardial is a discreet personal safety app that gives at-risk groups like women the ability to take control of their safety, combat harassment crimes and more easily remove themselves from threatening situations.
  • Habikit aims to protect and restore bee habitat in Southern Appalachia through their accessible bee habitat restoration kit, a wooden planter box filled with bee-friendly flowers that thrive in the region.
  • Tints Streetwear is an educational initiative that teaches young people experiencing poverty in Bangladesh entrepreneurship skills through designing hand-embroidered streetwear.
  • KidAction is an educational app that aims to train young people, especially those in rural communities, to make change in their communities while building skills, increasing college readiness and sharpening their public policy knowledge.
  • Leaders Across the World is a free virtual initiative to democratize exchange experiences, giving international participants ages 11-18 the opportunity to connect with peers and explore global issues.
  • LookUpp is a community-powered app that seeks to improve the mental health of teenage and older students by encouraging them to engage in more offline social interactions.
  • Magical Motors, which cultivates social and motor skills growth in children with developmental and motor disabilities with the goal of modifying ride-on toy cars so they are accessible for kids to drive. 
  • Mentalligence is a mental health program that brings together students from across New York City virtually to learn and try out a variety of therapy and self-care methods.
  • moMUNtum, which works to make Model United Nations (MUN) more accessible, equitable and impactful by training conference organizers and students in facilitating conferences that are welcoming and inclusive.
  • One World for STEAM is dedicated to increasing access to science, engineering, math and technology (STEAM) education in under-resourced communities worldwide through camps, mentorship programs and community resources.
  • Oystilter is a small, scalable device that filters molecules harmful to water systems by mimicking the processes oysters use to clean water.
  • Pandion Institute, which facilitates transformative and educational outdoor experiences that center Indigenous values, vision and voices and creates a space for homecoming and Land-based cultural revitalization. 
  • Robust Adaptive Network (RAN) is a collection of robots that operate as a rescue network that can be deployed in disaster areas to provide internet access, distribute supplies and support rescue missions.
  • ServUS aims to connect passionate university student volunteers with socially innovative projects at nonprofits, empowering youth to lead the way towards a sustainable future while serving as a hub for changemaking.
  • She Shall Speak is a podcast and global empowerment community working to amplify the intersectional narratives of Gen Z Black girls and support them in pursuing civic service, entrepreneurship and social justice.
  • Terraclu is a mobile app and sensor that uses machine learning to identify the ideal temperature and humidity to maintain the freshness of fruits and vegetables as they ripen, using this data to recommend nearby locations where the produce can be stored.
  • The Onyx Incubator is a free three-year program that supports youth who have experienced incarceration or qualify for an alternative to secure detention centers in building their creative and social skills in preparation for life after high school.
  • ThriftFest is a sustainable fashion festival that is building towards an eco-friendly fashion future by promoting local artists, community groups and businesses creating sustainable fashion and art.
  • Youth International Leadership Initiative (YILI), which seeks to increase the involvement of diverse students and recent graduates in international affairs opportunities and careers.

From these top 25 ideas, four major trends have emerged as common themes: addressing teen mental health, innovative technological solutions, building sustainable futures, and youth education and development.

The selected teams will soon get flown out to Taco Bell’s headquarters in Irvine, California and experience an exclusive three-day Summit to pitch their social impact ideas, network and sharpen their changemaking skills.

Five will be selected as finalists to win up to $25,000 in funding to accelerate their ventures. 

The Ambition Accelerator showcases that young people are indeed the future in discovering innovative ways to positively impact society. 

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