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.
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.
“Thanks to the High Flyers Youth Entrepreneurship Programme, the 1,700 beneficiary businesses shall be provided with suitable training and mentorship solutions that address challenges that come with business formalisation and expansion. The lessons derived from this initiative will be shared with practitioners and stakeholders supporting business start-up programmes in Uganda.”
“IDB Lab 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 IDB Lab 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.”
“The YBI network has provided invaluable support in the launch and growth of Youth Business USA. From the highly skilled support of their team to the ‘matchmaker’ role that YBI played in connecting us with Accenture – we are very grateful to YBI and to be a part of this impactful network of organisations with shared missions.”
"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."View story
“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.”View story
“Working for someone else is a lot easier because they are telling you everything that you need to do. But being an entrepreneur is much more fulfilling; the accomplishments are more rewarding”.View story
“You have to dare yourself to do things”.View story
“Entrepreneurship has always been a part of me."View story
"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
"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!"View story