YBI at the ANDE Conference

Jo Gray
Jo Gray Director of Membership Services and Engagement Youth Business International

This week we see the convening of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) one of the greatest collaborations in history. As President Biden said in his welcome address “No country can meet the challenges of the world today alone”.

Clearly stating what we already know, that complex problems require deep and meaningful collaboration to effect change and rethink how we can attempt to tackle critical challenges. In our case, addressing the challenge: how can we better support entrepreneurs to create businesses that drive economic growth, create jobs and support climate challenges?

With that in mind it was a pleasure to be at ANDE’s annual conference last week in Ghana, where the aim is shared by YBI’s global events; to provide the space, focus and people to share challenges and learning and seek ways to collaborate to accelerate impact.

President Biden also described a vision where “workers are empowered and our environment is protected, where entrepreneurs and innovators can access opportunity everywhere”. He could have been describing the vision we all shared as we gathered in Ghana, and one that many across our network are working hard to achieve.

As always happens at such events, as rich as the content is, the most value is to be found in the conversations and personal connections with the people you meet. A reminder that YBI’s belief that connection before content is the foundation of successful collaboration is well founded. A huge thank you to my fellow collaborators for enriching my thinking and generously sharing your time and perspective on a wide range of topics. Our members,  Adenike Adeyemi,  Fate Foundation,  Matt Wallace, and Adam Huntfrom ONOWAmelia Hopkins-PhilipsSomo Shingi NyamwanzaTechnoserve. And as always it was brilliant to make connections and spend time with friends old and new. It was inspiring to meet Mathias Charles Yabe a young entrepreneur and founder of Ako FreshArielle Molino from Pollinate ImpactThomas Caffrey Osvald from Small FoundationNicholas Colloff from Argidius FoundationDave Tait from the African Leadership AcademyVenu Aggarwal from 60 Decibels and Omolara Adewumi from Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

I learned from other networks and how they are looking to better collaborate for impact, I was reminded of the importance of YBI’s focus on young people and in particular the need to open up opportunities and networks for young entrepreneurs. I was inspired by the various micro talks; the power of true inclusivity; the importance of decent jobs, surely we want good jobs; the very smart question shared by Matt Wallace around AI and “I’m not sure we should be doing this” and of course the many discussions around which is better, Ghanian or Nigerian Jollof rice.

I commend ANDE for enabling this learning and kudos to the ANDE West Africa team for hosting us all and making many people’s first visit to West Africa so memorable. We all need to bring the global and local closer together. It was a privilege to have this time with such amazing people and I am committing to you all to act on the many conversations started.

In the words of one of our brilliant members, “There are too many people looking for a better life, and not enough looking to make life better”. It was a pleasure to meet so many people trying to do just that.

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