2019 YBI Network Highlights

December is a great opportunity for us all to reflect on the year and celebrate achievements. 2019 has been a memorable year for Youth Business International (YBI). We expanded and strengthened our network, developed new partnerships that enable us to support more young entrepreneurs across the globe, and engaged in global campaigns to make our voice heard.

Here are some of the achievements we’re most proud of:

1.       Celebrating International Women’s Day

In March, we celebrated International Women’s Day showcasing the extraordinary work our network is doing to empower young women around the world to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential. This year we shared the stories of ten brilliant women, highlighting their businesses and the impact they are having. We also invited female CEOs from across the network to share their thoughts on this year’s campaign theme, #BalanceforBetter.

2.       Launching our commitment to the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth

In May, we launched our commitment to the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, which strives to impact youth employment in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Launched in 2016 as a UN system-wide effort, this is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together governments, social partners, the private sector, youth and civil society organisations. YBI will work across the network to develop new solutions to the critical challenges facing young entrepreneurs around the world.

3.       Hosting our Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit

In June, we held our Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in Cartagena, Colombia bringing together over 100 members, partners and supporters from 75 organisations across 35 countries. This was a unique opportunity to deepen connections, explore new ideas and spark collaborations in support of our work with young entrepreneurs. Discussions ranged from impact of technology on today’s changing world to the importance of storytelling and building human connections to the role of innovation in driving change, and so much more.

4.       Celebrating young entrepreneurs and members through our annual awards

A highlight of our Summit was the YBI awards ceremony, a great celebration of the vision and resilience it takes to succeed in entrepreneurship. Participants were inspired by Buram Munkhsuren, winner of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year, who spoke passionately about her journey to become a successful entrepreneur as a camel herder from a remote, nomadic community in Mongolia. We also recognised Autoocupació as winner of the Innovation award for Reempresa, their business transfer marketplace, and Marcele Silva as winner of the Mentor Recognition award.

5.       Sparking innovation through our global Innovation Challenge

Following the success of our first Innovation Challenge in 2018, we launched our second Innovation Challenge in partnership with Accenture to encourage and support the design of innovative services by network members. This year’s Challenge was won by two impressive initiatives: ICCO Uganda’s credit assessment tool connecting agripreneurs with microfinance institutions, and Qredits’ entrepreneurship education programme customised for the Caribbean context.

6.       Generating new insight on youth entrepreneurship

In August, we shared a new study, The Digital landscape for young entrepreneurs in Latin America
and the Caribbean. This study is the final one in our Insights for Success Learning Series which is part of our Youth Entrepreneurship Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean supported by the IDB. The series includes reports exploring different models and approaches to scaling and a practical handbook for practitioners implementing youth entrepreneurship support programmes.

7.       Developing a new soft skills training service

In October, we launched our new research, Entrepreneurial soft skills for the future: a scoping study. This study identifies the soft skills that young entrepreneurs need to best navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing job market. We have used the research findings to inform our new soft skills training curriculum, which has been developed in partnership with five YBI members. Highly customisable depending on the context, the training programme is now being piloted in Kazakhstan, Burundi and Paraguay.

8.       Strengthening the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Europe

In November, we renewed our partnership with the Citi Foundation to continue to support thousands of underserved young entrepreneurs across Europe. The Youth Business Europe programme has supported talented young people to realise their potential through entrepreneurship such as Mohamed, a Syrian refugee who has brought a touch of his culture to Belgium by opening a successful Syrian restaurant.

9.       Promoting youth entrepreneurship through Global Entrepreneurship Week

In November, we also joined the annual global celebration of entrepreneurs and the partners who support them. From FATE Foundation’s 5th Policy Dialogue Series in Nigeria to MOST Business Incubator’s training on soft skills in Kazakhstan, this year we whizzed through the globe to showcase the brilliant activities the YBI network were coordinating for this exciting week. During the week we also launched our new partnership with IKEA Foundation to enable young entrepreneurs in India and Bangladesh to create thriving businesses that boost their economies and create jobs in the local markets.

10.   Expanding and strengthening the YBI Network

Over the course of the year we welcomed two new members from Palestine to the YBI Network: Palestinian consultative Staff (PCS), an organisation focusing on economic empowerment, and FATEN, Palestine’s largest microcredit institution. In December, we welcomed our newly appointed trustees Adenike Adeyemi, CEO of YBI member FATE Foundation, and Boris Tkachenko, CEO of YBI member Youth Business Russia, to their first YBI board meeting.

Looking ahead, 2020 is already shaping up to be a very exciting year. We’ll convene our Africa Community of Practice in February, our much-anticipated global Masterclass will take place in Barcelona in June, and in September we’ll launch new research exploring the opportunities and challenges facing young entrepreneurs on the move. We look forward to sharing this with you!

Have a look at 10 of our top highlights from 2019:

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