Case study: 21 Inc

by Kine Nordstokka on Fri, 2011-02-04 13:04
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Name: 21 Inc
Location: Canada
Date Founded: 2005
Mission: Develop leadership skills in young people


Background and aims

21 Inc is based on the belief that to make a significant, long term impact one has to develop leadership skills in the young people. There are many promising young people who are willing and able to contribute to their community’s prosperity, 21 Inc is dedicated to giving these the right opportunity and support. 21 Inc was established in 2005 by a group of young people in Canada wanting to tap into this potential of new and emerging young people and make them the best leaders possible. 21 Inc does this by nurturing and investing in a cohort of people with the skills, networks and confidence to make an impact.  

The Innovation

21 Inc focuses on young people in their 20s and 30s from all sectors, providing them with the skills, tools, networks and confidence to become effective 21st century leaders. To do this 21 Inc draws upon the collective knowledge and experience of established leaders to develop the country’s best leaders that make a real difference in their communities. It strives to teach its participants smart leadership, a combination of hard skills, soft skills and context.

21 Inc provides a support system to harness a person’s leadership potential and convert it into action. This is done by providing emerging young leaders and entrepreneurs with leadership experiences and developing their professional abilities through action on some of the society’s most pressing challenges. Participants build a supportive and active peer network that links 21 Inc participants with programme alumni and supporters, through which these young leaders grow their professional skills and make a significant impact on the economic and social wellbeing in their communities.

Key Ingredients

The 21 Inc Leaders Programme is a ten months long part time programme. It is designed to fit in with the participants’ already existing work and personal commitments. The programme is built up around three intensive three-day themed seminars, a week long study-tour and a small group project work. During the three day long seminars the participants develop their leadership skills through training workshops, mentorship, policy dialogues and site visits. The small group project work is designed to develop skills at the same time as making a positive contribution to the local community. Participants work together with local NGOs to design and implement practical solutions to pressing local challenges. The design and results of the projects are presented to fellow participants and community stakeholders at the third and last seminar. At the week-long study trip the participants travel around the different regions of their province. This is to get better acquainted with the local region in which they will be making an impact and to get exposed to different leadership styles in the province. Lastly, the programme also includes a mentoring programme where the 21 participants develop meaningful relationships with provincial and national leaders.

21 organises an Ideas Festival in Canada each year, bringing together emerging and established leaders in an intergenerational dialogue to share ideas and learn from each other. Themes during this festival are some of Canada’s most pressing issues, such as climate change, economic recovery and ageing. The rationale for organising these Ideas Festivals is that to solve the society’s most complex problems, there must be collaboration, innovation and strong leadership.

21 Inc also organises an annual Emerging Leaders Summit for fifty exceptional young leaders. Participants must be nominated to attend this event. The Summit is designed to enable the young leaders to network with peers, get know-how to help propel careers, enhance leadership abilities and build organisations and communities for the 21st century. The agenda includes workshops, leadership mentoring and dialogues. The workshops focus on motivation, relationship, strategy, structure and outcomes. After the Summit all participants attend the Ideas Festival which immediately follows the summit.


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