YBI’s Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit: A Week of Connections, Ideas and Inspiration

Anita Tiessen
Anita Tiessen Chief Executive Officer Youth Business International

Last week we held YBI’s flagship event, the Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (GYES), in Cartagena, Colombia. GYES 2019 brought together over 100 members, partners and supporters from 75 organisations across 35 countries.

GYES was a unique opportunity to deepen connections, explore new ideas and spark collaborations in support of our work with young entrepreneurs. The theme for this year’s event was “Innovation for Impact”. From provocative keynotes to engaging panel discussions, practical workshops and networking opportunities, it was an action packed fews days!

Throughout the Summit I was struck by the commitment of YBI members to continuously evolve their support to best meet the changing needs of young entrepreneurs. It is this commitment, coupled with our shared belief in the power of collaboration to drive impact, that is at the very heart of our network.

Celebrating talent across the network

A highlight of the Summit was the YBI awards ceremony, always much anticipated! Competition was tough, with 71 applications from 21 members. For the first time, we celebrated members innovating to improve their work and mentors going the extra mile alongside the Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

The awards ceremony was a great celebration of the vision and resilience it takes to succeed in entrepreneurship. I was deeply 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.

“I have a vision and it includes my three daughters – I am working towards this vision, I am committed and supported by mentors like my mother.” – Buram Munkhsuren, Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner

Announcing our second Innovation Challenge

During the Summit members shared their experiences of innovation. From coding in Turkey to creating a network of cookery schools in Bolivia and testing the first business transfer marketplace in Spain – the creativity across our network was evident.

Keen to harness this momentum, we announced our second Innovation Challenge. Building on our successful pilot in 2018, this exciting initiative will support members to explore and develop new solutions to the challenges facing the young entrepreneurs they support. I look forward to seeing the ideas shared!

Collaborating to set YBI’s future direction

The Summit was a great opportunity to set out YBI’s new, strategic commitment to share and deepen expertise on supporting young entrepreneurs in rural areas and those on the move. Discussions highlighted the importance of inclusion across all of our work, and its link to tackling poverty and inequality.

On the final day, members shared their vision for YBI going forward. I really valued the ideas and insights shared – from exploring how to better exchange learning to building our brand and connecting entrepreneurs. This gives us a clear direction moving forwards.

¡Muchas gracias!

I would like to extend my thanks to all of the YBI members who participated in the Summit, many of whom co-designed and led sessions. I would also like to thank our long-standing partners, Accenture and IDB Lab, and our new partner Nestlé Colombia for sponsoring the event. GYES 2019 would not have been the success it was without your support.

The hard work now begins as we work to translate the knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment shared at the Summit into real change for members and young entrepreneurs. No simple task but one that, together, I know we are more than capable of!

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