Giving young entrepreneurs a kickstart

The current global youth population is the largest in history. Of the world’s 3 billion people estimated to be under the age of 25, approximately 1.3 billion young people are between the ages of 15 and 24, making up a quarter of the world’s working population, but representing half of the world’s unemployed. Just under half of these youth live on less than two dollars a day, as estimated by the UN. Most young people in the developing world face little prospect of obtaining a job in the formal sector; for many, self-employment is the only option.  Helping young people to earn a living through entrepreneurship can make a  crucial contribution to poverty reduction.

In addition, future innovation and economic growth will depend on future leaders with entrepreneurial skills and attitudes.  Thus youth entrepreneurship as a key tool to develop the human capital necessary for the future, unleash the economic potential of youth, and promote sustainable growth.

Many different initiatives exist to promote youth entrepreneurship, from providing training to youth who want to start their own business to venture capital funds to help promote these businesses, yet little is known about what works best – and particularly what works best in different contexts.

Operating context is critical to impact, yet there exists very little understanding or guidance about how context affects impact in practice, or how interventions should be adapted to maximise impact – especially in the youth entrepreneurship sector.

Our goal is to engage and review a broad range of sector evidence and experience in order to produce a user-friendly youth entrepreneurship contexts framework. The framework, which includes practical toolkits, is intended to guide key audiences as follows:

  • Policy makers and donors: to be informed how to allocate resources to support youth entrepreneurship most effectively in different contexts;
  • Programme decision makers: to understand how to design and prioritise youth entrepreneurship interventions most effectively in different contexts;
  • Programme implementers: to understand how to adapt delivery of interventions most effectively in different contexts;
  • Evaluation specialists: to be informed how to compare impact results from one context against another.

As part of this process we are asking you to become part of the consultation process, its purpose is to enhance the framework and toolkit’s design, credibility, applicability and uptake.

The consultation is critical to ensure our approach to this fundamental challenge of contexts is addressed as inclusively and robustly as possible. The feedback will be a crucial source of information to develop and share a new and improved version for all to use across the sector.

The results of the consultation are out! We invite you to read the findings in our consultation report. You can also read our article in The Guardian where we discuss some of our main findings.