Italian millennials establish Europe’s first youth think tank
In 2007, three Italian millennials founded ThinkYoung, the first European think tank that represents youth. Beside engaging young people in decision-making, the organization provides policymakers with high-quality research on youth status.
ThinkYoung started out as a non-profit association and now it is characterised by a core team of 30 millennials. Since its foundation, 300.000 young people have been involved. As a result, ThinkYoung now consists of a large multicultural team with an extensive network of online helpers, “creating trainings and workshops to empower youth with the tools to have a positive impact and make a change,” according to its website.
Starting to deal with young people before the youth issues were spread by the media is what has given the NGO a significant competitive advantage.
At the age of 25, after graduating in Economics from Bocconi University (Milan), Andrea Gerosa found work in Brussels; attending the world of politics he noticed a lack of representation of millennials within European institutions.
Supported by his friends Azzurra Giorgio and Stefano Benini, with only with a computer and 25 euros to register the site, Gerosa began to do surveys on youth. On the basis of these research two activities are carried out: organizing campaigns to create awareness on a specific topic and then presenting the legislative proposals to the European Commission.
Another key success is the complete freedom of entrepreneurial initiative empowered to TY members. Unlike other think-tanks that seek funding independently from projects, TY works on projects. If on the one hand it secures funds only for 16 months, on the other hand this model may give a greater advantage in the long term.
About 50 to 60 percent of ThinkYoung's budget comes from private foundations, such as the Open Society Foundations and the Erste Stiftung; the remaining part by private companies, like Google and Halldis.
After establishing a second office in Brussels and an headquarter in Geneva, in 2013 ThinkYoung activity spread to Hong Kong; this last achievement was the result of two guys’ great motivation, who independently developed a project without budget.
Since 2011, the association established an innovative schools of entrepreneurship, held in Brussels and Hong Kong; in this way, every year 300 students, or recent graduates, have the opportunity to learn from the experience of successful entrepreneurs.
Take a look at the video below and learn more about ThinkYoung mission listening to Gerosa.