YBI Network’s 2021 Highlights

2021 was another challenging year for young entrepreneurs around the world. But in the face of the ongoing crisis, it is inspiring and uplifting to see the YBI network continue to support young entrepreneurs to pivot, adapt and bounce back stronger. Our members’ commitment, innovation and creativity have continued to empower them with the skills they need to succeed. Please see below for a roundup of highlights from 2021.

Supporting green & social entrepreneurs and championing inclusivity

To better understand the support young social and green entrepreneurs need, we launched three different social impact accelerator models with members SOMO (Kenya)Qredits (Netherlands) and Sky’s The Limit (USA). This work has culminated in a social and green impact toolkit, for use across our network.

Along with supporting social and green entrepreneurs, it’s crucial to ensure that any barriers to inclusive entrepreneurship are removed. Together with innovation consultancy InkDot and 13 members, we developed an inclusivity toolkit to help members assess their current situation and develop plans to be more inclusive. The toolkit was piloted by MicroLab (Italy)Development Solutions (Mongolia)ideiaLab (Mozambique) and Habitat (Turkey). Below they share their experiences and the changes they’ve made:

Building the network’s skills and capacities

To help more young entrepreneurs tap into their resilience and resourcefulness with our Growth and Performance Skills (GPS) training, we launched GPS training of trainers to enable our members to deliver our GPS cirriculum themselves. So far, six members have completed it and we will offer more sessions in 2022.

Our Digital Accelerator is a phased programme designed to help members digitalise their operations and services to increase reach and relevance to young entrepreneurs. So far, 13 members have completed the programme. We are currently piloting a scalable self-service model to offer to all members in 2022 with Development Solutions (Mongolia) and Jinishian Memorial Foundation (Armenia).

Our Decent Work training helped six members develop training content on Decent Work principles for young entrepreneurs – including on how to provide fair wages, a safe working environment and freedom from discrimination. We are now working with out Brazilian member Aliança Empreendedora on training videos to be shared with the whole network – and the Decent Work training will be back next year too.

Networking and collaborating for impact

Through our Member Learning and Collaboration Events Calendar we hosted 18 events with 435 participants from 35 members. The calendar is currently getting a makeover and will be back in 2022 with a new look and more exciting events and training opportunities for the network.

In November and December, our members organised and led the International Mentoring Days – a series of regional online events to connect on all things mentoring and celebrate inspiring mentors with the Regional Mentor of the Year Award. The Global Mentor of the year will be announced in January.

Ongoing COVID-19 crisis response

In February 2021, we launched an emergency support programme with Standard Chartered Foundation in six countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. To date, 10,302 young entrepreneurs have accessed in-depth support through the programme.

Young entrepreneur Supriya, supported by our member BYST through our programme funded by IKEA Foundation

In March 2021 we launched an SOS Mentoring programme with ENEL Group and our members Acción Emprendedora (Chile)Corporación Minuto de Dios (Colombia)Perspektiva (Peru), and Youth Business Spain. ENEL volunteer mentors supported almost 100 entrepreneurs with one-to-one mentoring.

Sharing our expertise and impact in two new reports

In September 2021, we launched our new flagship report Entrepreneurship with reach: Connecting young people to opportunity. The report uses our network’s 20 years of experience to establish what works and what is needed for inclusive and impactful support.

As our COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery programme with Google.org is coming to a close, we published ‘Refocus, Retool, Reset‘ sharing the impressive impact of the programme: 375,588 entrepreneurs across 32 countries reached and 92,803 jobs maintained. The report also identifies six key areas of future support to help young entrepreneurs build back better.

Mehdi, supported by our member Qredits through our COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme with Google.org

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