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What is the aim of Make Your Mark?

Our program's aim is to help young people shape their future

MYM is a group-wide program where all our BUs and OpCos contribute initiatives under a common theme.

The aim is to help young people find solutions to the challenge of achieving sustainable development. These may be highly personal and localized – how can I access a basic, decent education and help myself and my family? Or they could be national, regional or global – how can I contribute to a more sustainable environment, secure a better healthcare system, improve the availability of jobs, or a more productive economy so I have a better future?

The goal of MYM is to empower young people to make a positive difference to their own lives, and the lives of others, through increased access to education and through inspiring social entrepreneurship, particularly in the digital arena. MYM includes three interrelated themes:



Use technology and other resources to bring education to young people who might otherwise not have access to it.


Help young people with creative digital commercial ideas to build businesses and careers.


Encourage young people to turn their energy and enthusiasm into digital solutions for social, economic and environmental challenges.

Why are we driving Make Your Mark?

With MYM we are aiming for a ‘win-win’ for society and our business. In several of our markets, literacy and educational challenges can limit the size of our customer base. By supporting education we can bring more people into the digital world, creating benefits for them and broadening our market.

Equally, a key strand of our commercial strategy is to achieve digital leadership, creating a new ecosystem of digital services for our customers, as well as transforming our own processes and business model through digital enablement. The ideas for achieving this do not come only from within our company, or from established international digital giants, but also potentially from hundreds of small, digital start-up businesses providing content and solutions for local people and issues.

By encouraging young entrepreneurs to start new digital businesses, we can uncover valuable data services for our customers, and contribute to development of a vibrant digital ecosystem in our markets, flowing across our networks.

And finally, as well as benefiting from the direct commercial impact of this new wave of digital services, we aim to inspire these entrepreneurs to look at some of society’s big challenges – very local or even global – and contribute digital solutions. The indirect impact of this on prosperity, education, health, productivity, access to financial services, empowerment and good governance, will all help create a better long term business environment to support our financial success.

How are we implementing Make Your Mark

From the start, MYM has been built on two main philosophies:

  • Build on existing successes and our core competencies
  • Adopt a top-down and bottom-up approach.

Following this approach, we have focused on sharing good practices across our markets, identifying success and looking to replicate these models wherever appropriate. Equally, we have looked to coordinate individual market projects with regional approaches where possible, and conduct targeted research to help us intervene effectively in developing digital ecosystems.

Our work with a variety of stakeholders is also helping shape the program. For example, as well as participating in the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on corporate social innovation, we were invited to join the GSMA’s Project Leadership Group for their new strategic program ‘Ecosystem Accelerator’. This program aims to maximize the ability of mobile operators to work with innovators to help grow unique, commercially and socially sustainable products and services in developing markets.

Locally, our MYM focus has helped develop stronger links with players in the digital start-up community, relevant government departments, private investors and enterprise bodies, as well as universities and business schools.

During 2015, we have seen activities across the markets coverage towards a more common MYM model. This in turn is now driving a re-evaluation of the program to assess how we can grow and strengthen it.

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