We know that young entrepreneurs play a key role in local economies, often supporting not just themselves and their families but the wider community. These young entrepreneurs also have the potential to be a driving force in the long recovery effort ahead. However, the current crisis is leaving many facing what can seem to be insurmountable challenges. They need our support now.
I have been inspired and humbled by the dedication of our members as they rapidly adapt to respond to the unfolding crisis - from introducing new digital delivery models so that current training, mentoring and other business advisory services can continue to designing new helplines and crisis counselling for young entrepreneurs with businesses at risk. This includes, for example, our member in the Netherlands, Qredits, who are managing on average 1,000 calls a day to their call centre and, over the past week, have restructured over 2,250 loans. Meanwhile, through their #supportsmallbusinesses campaign our member in Kenya, Somo, are supporting young entrepreneurs to continue marketing their products.
To support our members we are bringing them together virtually to share good practice responses to the crisis – from how to set up hotlines to remote mentoring and virtual training. We are also exploring new tools and approaches for service delivery, enabling members to quickly and effectively move online. We are looking ahead too, supporting our members to ensure that the right support is in place for young entrepreneurs to quickly relaunch or boost their businesses when the moment comes so that they can get back on their feet quickly.
Now more than ever, it is vital we come together as a global network to share ideas and expertise, explore collaborations and - perhaps most importantly - offer each other support and solidarity. This spirit of global collaboration and partnership, upon which the YBI network is based, will be critical as we navigate the tough times ahead.
Find out what you can do to support young entrepreneurs and their businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.