Have an Idea to Improve Your Community, Campus, or the World? Enter YouthSpark Challenge for Change!

By Lori Harnick, General Manager, Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs

When it comes to social change, launching entrepreneurial ventures, and coming up with the next generation of big ideas, we know that nothing matches the creativity and passion of youth. That’s the driving force behind Microsoft YouthSpark, our company-wide commitment to create education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for 300 million young people over three years.

Today we’re launching YouthSpark Challenge for Change, a contest for U.S. residents aged 18 to 25 who have an idea for sparking change in their communities or around the world for the chance to win* amazing prizes, including a volunteer trip to Kenya this summer and the latest Microsoft products. Entering the contest is easy. Simply answer a few questions about your social good project and how Windows and Office could help bring it to life.

Microsoft wants to help young people change the world, and because we believe all good deeds should be rewarded, everyone who enters the contest will win!

  • Everyone who enters between now and May 24 will receive a $25 gift card for Give for Youth, our micro-giving portal designed to help you fund and follow social good projects for young people around the world.
  • 20 Finalists will receive a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT and Office Home and Student 2013 to help create their winning video entry.
  • Five Grand Prize Winners will receive:
    • A life-changing, all-expenses paid volunteer trip to Kenya in August 2013
    • $2,500 cash to help kick-start their ideas
    • A Microsoft technology bundle including a Windows Phone 8 and Xbox 360 with Kinect
    • The opportunity to serve as a YouthSpark ambassador for the year and take advantage of YouthSpark training and resources

If you’re wondering how to incorporate Windows and Office into your entry, click over to the Windows blog and Office.com for tips and tricks. And if you’re looking for inspiration for your own change-sparking project, watch Rebecca and Christina share stories about their projects, Plus Ultra and the Do Good Bus.

Enter the challenge now.

After all of the contest entries have been received, our judges will narrow the entries to 20 finalists, who will be revealed on June 17. Then the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite project once a day until June 24. We’ll announce our five grand prize winners on July 1, which will mark the end of the contest but the beginning of another journey. We’re excited to bring you the stories of our five winners and future YouthSpark Stars as they volunteer in Kenya this summer and launch their social good projects in the following months. And who knows… maybe one of them will be you.

*No purchase necessary. Entry deadline May 24, 2013. See website for full Official Rules.