13.06.23

Financial Health at YBI’s Futuremakers Community of Practice

Daniela Schofield
Daniela Schofield Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager Youth Business International (YBI)

Between 13th and 15th June, Youth Business International (YBI) hosted a Community of Practice (CoP) in Kampala, Uganda as part of our Futuremakers programme. Funded by the Standard Chartered Foundation, the programme aims to deliver and sustain the growth of youth-led, women-led, and inclusive Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The CoP brought together nine YBI members from around the world who shared their experience and best practices on inclusivity. The three day CoP focused on members learning together how to further financial health and wellbeing for young entrepreneurs. We also looked at how to make programming more inclusive, especially for entrepreneurs with disabilities, and enhance the inclusivity of our member services.

Why focus on financial health?

‘Financial health for young people means that they are aware of and able to access appropriate resources required to start and grow their enterprises as well as manage their business finances.’

Financial health is a term that encompasses many components, such as financial inclusion, access to finance, financial skills for business, and personal financial literacy. For young people, financial health means being aware of and able to access the appropriate resources required to start and grow their enterprises, as well as manage their business finances. Despite its importance, young people face multiple barriers when it comes to accessing financial products and services. Although these challenges have been documented, approaches for addressing these barriers are not as well defined.

During the CoP, YBI and our members collaborated to understand what works in achieving better financial health for young entrepreneurs. The goal of the session was to collectively and informedly comprehend financial health, including who needs to be involved and what resources are required. This was achieved through an exploration of pathways to financial health conducted with an inclusivity lens, aiming to reduce vulnerabilities, enhance equity, and work towards positive norms change.

Financial Health Day at CoP

The focus on financial health during the CoP allowed us to explore how YBI and our members can better support young entrepreneurs in building resilience, navigating financial health challenges, and achieving their business goals. During the second day of the CoP, members collectively workshopped definitions and conceptualisations of financial health through a participatory session. This session built on our earlier work conducted at previous CoPs, which identified barriers to accessing finance and challenges in addressing these barriers. Our recent work in Kampala tested our current understanding of financial health.

The day began with members sharing their insights and work on financial health to date. We then collectively reflected on what financial health means for our members’ work and developed a joint understanding of financial health for young entrepreneurs. The day included presentations from multiple YBI Futuremakers members on what they have done to tackle identified challenges and how their work aims to lead to better financial health for the entrepreneurs they support.

‘Our members’ experiences in programming for inclusivity, along with the challenges and success factors involved, were crucial in ensuring that our theory of change provides pathways to financial health for young people from various backgrounds, abilities, and locations.’

By the end of the day, our aim was to produce a theory of change model rooted in the experiences of our members. This model would articulate how to effectively achieve better financial health outcomes for all young entrepreneurs supported by our members in an inclusive manner. Undertaking this workshop as part of the Futuremakers CoP allowed us not only to gain insights into best practices for financial health, but also to understand how to do so inclusively. Our members’ experiences in programming for inclusivity, along with the challenges and success factors involved, were crucial in ensuring that our theory of change provides pathways to financial health for young people from various backgrounds, abilities, and locations.

We anticipated that the model produced by the end of the session would include strategic approaches and activities required to improve young people’s financial health. The session also provided an opportunity for YBI to develop a better understanding of how we can support our members in enhancing their programming and improving financial health for young entrepreneurs globally.

YBI’s financial health work going forward

‘Following the CoP, YBI will use the outputs from the workshop to finalise our theory of change and position statement on financial health and well-being for young entrepreneurs.’

This theory of change will guide YBI’s support and programming on financial health and its various components in the future. This work, along with a collection of case studies from across our network, will inform a learning product that will be developed throughout 2023 and launched at the end of the year.

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