Fiona Macaulay, a trailbrazer in youth empowerment

Fiona Macaulay, founder and president of Making Cents International. Photo by: personal collection

Fiona Macaulay became a social entrepreneur in fourth grade, when she organized a Christmas caroling brigade to fundraise for “wild ponies.” Today, the 37-year-old founder and president of Making Cents International is enabling youths worldwide to create their own economic opportunities.

“Many low-income youth and adults have great entrepreneurial and leadership potential; they just need access to a demand-driven package of services to succeed, both personally and professionally, and one that leverages individual and community strengths,” Macaulay said. “Delivered in the right way, the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes can be learned and applied by those with limited literacy and formal education, especially amongst the most marginalized populations.”

Demand for Making Cents’ mission is growing, Macaulay said, as evidenced by the organization’s expansion.

“It also makes me optimistic to see that Making Cents has doubled in size over the past year, and we expect to double again over the next two years,” she said.

To continue increasing awareness of and building cooperation around its work, Making Cents convenes the annual Global Youth Enterprise and Livelihoods Development Conference in Washington, D.C. The group’s Youth-Inclusive Financial Services Linkage Program, or YFS-Link, meanwhile, is expanding youth access to financial services.

Macaulay, who has 15 years of experience in microenterprise development, experiential learning curriculum design, facilitation, and organizational capacity building in more than 20 countries, has won various awards and honors for her involvement in the women’s small business community and youth development networks.

“The greatest thrill is hearing about when I am considered a role model by people younger than me, particularly young female social entrepreneurs,” Macaulay said.

Read the announcement of Devex’s 40-under-40 honorees.

About the author

  • Josh Miller

    Josh joined Devex's Washington office in early 2010 as an international development correspondent covering U.S. aid reform, the D.C. development scene and Latin America. He previously served as a marketing communications coordinator for TechnoServe, a news production specialist for the Associated Press and a news desk assistant for the PBS NewsHour. He has reported for publications in Caracas, Chicago, Madrid, New Delhi, Philadelphia, and Washington, and holds a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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