Supporting young entrepreneurs by focusing on disadvantaged youth

Sarah Eldon
Sarah Eldon International Director of Programmes and Development Youth Business International

Certain groups of young people disproportionately experience poverty and a lack of access to decent work. This includes people living with a disability who are often discriminated against, women who in many societies have fewer rights than men, and refugees who often live in poverty.

By operating at the crossroads of business and social development, YBI see firsthand the impact of youth entrepreneurship – as a lever for transforming prospects and livelihoods and as a driver of inclusive economic growth and stronger communities. Our efforts are particularly focused on disadvantaged young people, for whom entrepreneurship is out of reach. By helping them to build the skills, confidence and connections, they have a chance to beat the odds and become successful business owners and contributors to their communities.

As a recognised partner of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8 to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, I feel this UN quote sums up the challenge that we face and the solution we want to be a part of.

‘Too much of the world’s wealth is held by a very small group of people. This often leads to financial and social discrimination. In order for nations to flourish, equality and prosperity must be available to everyone – regardless of gender, race, religious beliefs or economic status. When every individual is self-sufficient, the entire world prospers.’

Supporting disadvantaged young people to build businesses and be catalysts for change is something I am extremely passionate about. As a woman living with a disability, I am all too aware of the discrimination and the need for more inclusivity in programming, job creation and the workplace.

My personal mantra is that we all need to educate ourselves, talk about the systemic bias, including against those with a disability, women, people of colour who are systematically on the receiving end of discrimination, the LGBT community, and, make a personal pledge to drive forward change. We need to sensitise those around us and be the catalyst for change to remove any barriers and make our world a nicer place to live in.

These sentiments are echoed by around the globe by our members and our partners. The YBI network works to ensure that their approach with support from us and our partners is working with young entrepreneurs from marginalised and disadvantaged groups so that our programmes are designed to be more inclusive and deliver the change that world so badly wants to see.

 Find out more about the YBI’s network work and values here: What we do. 

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