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Youth Entrepreneurship Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean

YBI’s regional programme aimed at helping underserved young people across Latin America and the Caribbean to start, grow and sustain a business.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Youth Entrepreneurship Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean (YEP) is YBI’s regional programme, supported by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, to help underserved young people across Latin America and the Caribbean to start, grow and sustain a business.

Programme overview

The Latin American and Caribbean region has a high youth unemployment rate—13% of youth are unemployed, compared to 5% of adults, and at least 50 million of the poor and low-income young people in the region are considered “at risk”.

To address such issues, in October 2013 Youth Business International and the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, a joint initiative which aims to provide training and other support to low-income youth seeking to start businesses across the regions.

The programme is designed to increase the number of vulnerable youth successfully starting sustainable businesses and creating new jobs. Despite significant investments in this area, there are systemic challenges persisting for these young people such as lack of access to finance, entrepreneurship training and mentoring. Through targeted country-level projects selected and implemented under a strategic learning agenda and rooted in cross-sector collaboration, the programme will result in laying the foundation for a youth entrepreneurship ecosystem in selected countries across the two regions. 

Programme structure

  • Design and implementation of country-level projects: the aim of each project is to increase the delivery of a comprehensive range of quality services to young entrepreneurs;
  • Tailored capacity development of the implementing organisations: technical assistance in the form of operational and methodological support and/or organisational support provided by YBI;
  • Knowledge management and communications: definition of the programme’s learning agenda and knowledge creation and exchange on youth entrepreneurship at regional level.

Services provided

  • Training;
  • Mentoring;
  • Capacity Development;
  • Knowledge Management;
  • Other business development support.

The programme aims to train 65,000 young people, support 28,000 youth to establish and grow their own business, create 20,000 additional jobs, generate knowledge about what works, where and how.

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Maritza Vela Project Specialist Multilateral Investment Fund

“The MIF turned to YBI to co-design our regional Youth Entrepreneurship Program that is significantly increasing the number of young people who improve their lives by starting or growing their own businesses across eleven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. To date YBI and MIF together have supported more than 41,000 young people to start or grow their own business. We appreciate YBI’s commitment to promoting innovation and learning across their network.”

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Success stories

Kimberley Sandiford


"I’ve always been passionate about taking care of others. When it occurred to me that I could start a business doing this I went all in – and learnt a lot along the way!"

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Relina Coward


"Manufacturing every day is really good, it’s tiring, but when you are making your product every day it means there is a demand and business is good."

View story

Marian Balmaceda


“I wanted to own something for myself, to be a self-employer. Fundación Paraguaya helped me to achieve that goal when I was feeling overworked doing what I loved.”

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Ricardo Escobedo


"When I first started out I did not understand the word “entrepreneur.” I was afraid I would not be able to do it, especially as I did not feel ready or confident enough to start a business on my own."

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Supported By

In Partnership with

Those who make it possible

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