Digital Opportunity Trust

Janet Longmore.
Youth-led, experiential learning programmes aimed
 at empowering young people with the confidence to use technology for entrepreneurial, educational, community and personal development.
What solution does the innovation propose?

Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) equips participants between the ages of 18 and 29 with business know-how, critical thinking, communication and self-confidence skills and offers meaningful work experiences for them to overcome unemployment, disenfranchisement and other systemic challenges. The programmes provide technology and management training delivered through practical
 peer-led interactions, an interconnected global network and strategic cross-sector partnerships. Through this combination of activities, participants are empowered to become agents of change in their communities.


Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals, World Economic Forum (2014). Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government (2014). Janet Longmore was the Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation (2013) and is an Ashoka Fellow (2013).

Impact evidence

  • During his or her tenure, each intern trains 100 to 200 other young people.
  • In 2017, the network supported 5,800 businesses to be established, over half run by women.
  • Youth trained demonstrate a 26% increase in entrepreneurial skills and attitudes.
  • 90% of DOT Interns have found employment or started their own businesses following their internship.
How does it work?

The Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) ‘Youth Leadership’ programme supports young people to become ‘Community Leaders’, ‘Digital Champions’ and ‘Social Innovators’ in their communities. The training focuses on four areas:

  • Experience-based learning. Provides training to young people while they build their skills and abilities in and alongside local communities, business, institutions and organisations.
  • Community impact. Young people put their knowledge to work and gain a deep understanding of the needs of their local communities in order to identify what they can contribute to them.
  • Networks. Young leaders are connected with peers, global networks, mentors and partners.
  • Investments. DOT supports participants through stipends, job placements, seed funding and incentives.

Programmes are delivered by interns, who are usually young university and college graduates. They are recruited locally and equipped with facilitation, coaching, mentoring, technology and communications skills. Then, they are placed in local communities to identify and train other young people. Interns also become mentors and role models with the capacity to support other young people as they transition into local employment or self-employment. Local universities and colleges promote the internship opportunity and upon selection, applicants sign a 10-12-month contract, during which they receive a monthly stipend. After completing their placement and sharing their skills and experiences with their peers, interns are offered employment experience.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Ottawa, Canada.
Where has been implemented so far
There are DOT offices in Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Programmes have been implemented in 25 countries.
Last updated: 
March 2019