New Online Partners Drive Votes for Best Buy @15 Challenge; MySpace,, Ypulse Help Teen Social Entrepreneur Competition Exceed Goals

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MySpace,, Ypulse Help Teen Social Entrepreneur Competition Exceed Goals; Voting Continues with $150,000 in Venture Funding Available

By promoting the voting on our site weekly, we are showing other marketers how they can effectively partner with non-profits and community-oriented organizations. Plus, we're helping the teens extend their community and garner support for their projects.

New online partners for the Best Buy @15 Challenge with Youth Venture are getting out the vote in record numbers, exceeding the program's goals in the first week of the voting period. MySpace Impact, Ypulse and Young Entrepreneur have joined other network partners in helping to educate teens on opportunities for young social entrepreneurs and featuring the competition on their sites.

"The more other youth learn about the current @15 finalists, the more likely they are to start their own social ventures and become changemakers in their own communities," said Gretchen Zucker, Executive Director of Youth Venture. "By working with popular social networks such as MySpace, our Venturers are promoting both their own community-benefiting organizations and serving as role models for other young people."

Thousands of visitors have visited the Best Buy @15 Challenge website, reviewed the finalist profiles and cast their ballots. Fifteen winning teams of youth social entrepreneurs will each receive $10,000 from the @15 Fund to support their Ventures. The Youth Venture teams address a wide variety of social issues ranging from poverty to the environment, arts, children and disaster relief. A complete list of the finalists can be found at Voting began on December 1, 2008 and will end January 9, 2009. Youth voters age 13 to 20 can enter for a chance to win a free MP3 player and $500 to donate to their school or favorite nonprofit.

Youth Venture worked with Street Attack, a Boston-based alternative and digital marketing agency, to increase the visibility of the competition and provide a variety of ways to vote online and through text messaging. Viral Mesh is the mobile partner, creating a text-based voting function and WAP portal. WAP users are able to verify their favorite team's unique text code, check the vote tally and use the send-to-a-friend feature. Meanwhile, the finalists have been conducting their own marketing campaigns by handing out flyers and cards, as well as using social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook to connect with their friends. Voting remains close.

"I am truly inspired by the 'Best Buy @15' finalists - they've all demonstrated such an entrepreneurial passion and commitment to their projects," said Liba Rubenstein, manager of Public Affairs for MySpace and co-founder of MySpace IMPACT. "We're thrilled that our platform is home to members like Youth Venture and these finalists who are using their online presence to create positive change in their communities and to inspire others to do the same."

"The passion and excitement the Best Buy @15 finalists exhibit for their projects is contagious," said Anastasia Goodstein, Ypulse founder and editor-in-chief. "By promoting the voting on our site weekly, we are showing other marketers how they can effectively partner with non-profits and community-oriented organizations. Plus, we're helping the teens extend their community and garner support for their projects."

New Partners:

*MySpace Impact is a channel within MySpace designed to empower MySpace users to make a difference in the world and to enable politicians, non-profits and civic organizations to connect with the online community. In addition to features on the channel itself and products like a viral fundraising widget, MySpace IMPACT also fosters social and civic engagement among the MySpace community through original programs blending on- and off-line elements, including Impact Awards, OurPlanet, DeclareYourself, Volunteer Space, and Decision08. For more information please visit:

*Ypulse is a media platform for youth media and marketing professionals. Ypulse publishes a blog and produces several conferences each year, the Ypulse Mashup events. Ypulse was founded in May of 2004 by journalist Anastasia Goodstein. Anastasia is the editor-in-chief of, and provides editorial direction on all Ypulse Mashups as well as creative direction for the overall Ypulse brand. She is also the author of Totally Wired: What Teens & Tweens Are Really Doing Online.

* is an award-winning website for entrepreneurs and small businesses. It is comprised of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs who are truly passionate about economic development, and enjoy promoting the formation and success of innovative and growth-oriented companies.

About Youth Venture
Youth Venture is a global movement of young changemakers. Youth Venture inspires and invests in teams of young people as they start their own sustainable social ventures, connecting them into a powerful global network. Collectively, these young changemakers are redefining the youth years as a time of initiative and positive change. For more information, please visit

About Ashoka
Ashoka is the world's largest network of social entrepreneurs--individuals with innovative and practical ideas for addressing social needs. Working with these social entrepreneurs, Ashoka builds communities of innovators who work collectively to transform society and design new ways for the social sector to become more productive, entrepreneurial and globally integrated. For more information, please visit

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