YES! Forum, Youth Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment Forum

  • November 27, 2019

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Youth-led social entrepreneurship has proved to hold great potential in mobilizing young people to address these challenges

The Youth Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment Forum (YES! Forum) is a featured event of the Global Entrepreneurship Week. It’s second edition was held as a pre-event of the World Export Development Forum, on 20th November 2019 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The event was co-organized with the African Union by partners of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth: International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia, the ecosystem of enterprise development agencies, incubators, accelerators, tech hubs, youth associations and financial service providers.

Youth entrepreneurship and self-employment foster local innovation and improve the resilience of young people on the job market, as they encourage young people to find new business solutions to social and economic challenges.

Consequently, youth-led social entrepreneurship has proved to hold great potential in mobilizing young people to address these challenges. Urgent action is therefore needed to address the critical challenges that young people encounter in their drive for entrepreneurship and self-employment. The main challenges are:

  1. Lack of enabling policy, regulatory and institutional environments,
  2. Weak entrepreneurial ecosystems, including lack of platforms to foster young entrepreneurs’ engagement, knowledge exchange and transfer, lack of networking opportunities, and lack of access to markets;
  3. Limited access to finance and investment opportunities, due to minimum capital requirement, lack of collateral, higher risk profile thus higher reluctance of financial institutions to lend money;
  4. Limited skills and knowledge transfer which continues to impede young entrepreneurs from being “fit for purpose” and establishing their own businesses, gaining access to technology, developing entrepreneurial skills and pursuing their education.

The YES! Forum aimed at providing a platform for stakeholders involved in Decent Jobs for Youth and particularly in the area of youth entrepreneurship and self-employment to engage, share experiences, innovations, and opportunities for scaled action.

The event programme covered three main themes:

  1. Promoting an enabling policy and regulatory environment for youth entrepreneurship and self employment.
  2. Facilitating access to markets, networks, knowledge and skills for young entrepreneurs and youth in businesses.
  3. Facilitating access to finance for young entrepreneurs and youth in businesses.

The forum produced three concrete outputs that directly target and impact young entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem, one related to each of the three themes respectively.

Session's included; The Potential of Agripreneurship; Challenging Environments, Migration and Entrepreneurship, A Challenging Road to Success; Scaling up Partnerships for Decent Jobs for Youth, The Role of Skills in Enterprise Development and Trade; Building up Institutional Ecosystems for Start-Ups; Sports for Development and Youth Economic Inclusiveness; Best Practices in Investing in Youth Entrepreneurship; and finally The Way Forward.