Youth Business International

Young Entrepreneurs: The Architects of Change


Young entrepreneur’s ideas, talents and energy drive positive change for themselves and their communities, within the world of work and beyond.

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Today there are 64 million unemployed young people worldwide and 145 million in low-waged, low-skilled or unsafe jobs. Addressing the youth employment crisis is imperative, not only for the well-being of young people but also to ensure sustainable inclusive growth worldwide. Youth Business International, a global network of 50+ expert organizations, believes that creating a inclusive, decent entrepreneurship ecosystem and equipping young people with the skills they need to start and grow businesses is a critical part of the solution to the youth employment crisis.Youth-led businesses do not just create new jobs, they strengthen local economies and provide much-needed services to their communities. Organizations from across our network have committed to realize our vision of Young Entrepreneurs as the Architects of Change, harnessing the ideas, talents and energy of young entrepreneurs and driving positive change for themselves and their communities, in the world of work and beyond.

Problem Statement

Young people account for 40% of the world’s population – the largest generation of youth in human history. The global recession, changing demographics and the fourth industrial revolution have changed the world of work. Global economies and education systems - which prepare young minds for work and beyond - have not caught up. There are 64 million unemployed young people globally and 145 million in low-waged, low-skilled or unsafe jobs. Marginalized and disadvantaged youth, such as women, youth on the move, people with disabilities and those in rural communities feel the sting of unemployment and underemployment more acutely, often encountering additional barriers to fulfilling their economic dreams.Youth unemployment and young people are at crisis point. Without access to decent, productive work, young people are unable to invest in education, healthcare or housing. They are unable to realize their talents, energy and provide better futures for themselves.One billion young people are set to enter the labor market in the next decade, and unless there is a systematic approach to address the complex and inter-related issues of youth employability, large numbers of these young people will face an unfulfilling future – a lost generation. Empowering young people with the skills they need to start and grow a business and creating a supportive, inclusive ecosystem is a critical part of the solution to the youth employment crisis. Banks, governments, companies and communities all have a part to play. Youth-led businesses create jobs, build communities and transform lives. Small business makes a big impact.

Solution Overview

Over the past decade, Youth Business International’s network of 50+ expert, independent organizations (our members) have successfully collaborated to mitigate the effects of youth unemployment. We are ready to move beyond our current scope of activities, to leverage our considerable evidence and learning and expand our vision to address the complex and inter-related issues in the field of entrepreneurship support and youth employability.Central to the systematic change is empowering the next generation of young entrepreneurs. Working in 30+ countries our members will equip young people (18-35 years old) with the right mindset, skills (digital and soft) as well as entrepreneurial training, mentoring, financial and non-financial support they need to thrive in business and beyond. Progress is breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship.YBI recognizes that young entrepreneurs operate within a wider ecosystem which influences their success. Globally, regionally and locally, our network will work with financial institutions, companies and governments to recognize entrepreneurship as a viable economic model for job creation. We will work with the levers for change to develop policies, products and strategies to enable young entrepreneurs to flourish.We will celebrate successful and diverse young entrepreneurs so that every young person, regardless of their gender, location, disability or level of education knows entrepreneurship is an option for them. Young entrepreneur’s ideas, talents and energy drive positive change for themselves and their communities. By establishing networks of young entrepreneurs – the Architects of Change - we will accelerate their capacity for change by promoting youth-led advocacy and building connections.

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Project Funders

  • Accenture 2015 - 2021
  • Citi Foundation 2015 - 2020
  • IKEA Foundation 2019 - 2021

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