Building a new framework for youth entrepreneurship

By Helen Gale, Youth Business International and Karen Ellis, Overseas Development Institute

Building a new framework for youth entrepreneurship

From November 12 – 18, 35,000 events in 127 countries will take place during Global Entrepreneurship Week to inspire people to become a force for change. The time is right, as governments across the world are desperate to find solutions to the growing challenge of youth unemployment.

High youth unemployment is no longer limited to the developing world. Young people between the ages of 15 to 24 make up a quarter of the global working population. But according to the OECD, one in six young workers in the EU is now looking for a job. In developing countries, 83% of youth are self-employed, often starting their own business out of necessity, but unlikely to be able to expand their business beyond the micro-stage. The problem is even more of a challenge in countries that combine large youth populations with fragile state institutions.

Although there are plenty of initiatives to promote youth entrepreneurship, their approaches vary. And while helping young people earn a living through entrepreneurship can make a crucial contribution to poverty reduction and economic growth, it is now clear that one size does not fit all. Little is known about what works best – and in particular what works best in different contexts.

Given the global picture of youth unemployment, the development community needs to demonstrate its commitment to young entrepreneurs by grasping how context affects impact, and how interventions should be adapted to maximise that impact, especially in the youth entrepreneurship sector.

That’s why Youth Business International, Restless Development and War Child have commissioned ODI to conduct a study on ‘maximising the impact of youth entrepreneurship support in different contexts’. Our goal is to engage and review a broad range of evidence and experience to produce a user-friendly framework for guiding and prioritising youth-entrepreneurship interventions in different contexts.

As part of this study we are also consulting experts and practitioners in the field to help develop and refine the toolkit, asking important questions on whether the toolkit recommendations tally with their views on the best ways to tackle constraints to entrepreneurship. You can join our discussion through our webinar with Business Fights Poverty members and share your feedback and recommendations on how to enhance the credibility, applicability and uptake of the framework and toolkit.

For more information about our consultation or to contribute, please go to where you can find the full consultation document, suggest answers to some of our questions and find out more about our consultation activities. For more background please see ODI’s report available here.

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One Response

  1. Thanks, for this, will go through and make my observation, however it is worth saying that issues relating to youth employment and work have become controversial and ‘ no go area’ for many good minded NGOs due to the too much talk and mis conception of ‘Child labour’ by same NGOs talking development. How to draw a line between youth engagenment and development and child labour ‘n’ exploitation is a major challenge facing NGOs and social entrepreneurs.

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