Youth Business International (YBI), the only global network organization dedicated to youth entrepreneurship, is pleased to announce the appointment of five new trustees. The new global board members will support YBI’s ambitious strategy to generate a million jobs through the start-up and growth of 250,000 youth-led businesses.
This injection of new energy at board level comes at a critical time in YBI’s 2023-25 strategy on sustainable and inclusive youth entrepreneurship, and will help propel the network to achieve its mission to empower underserved young people (18-35 years old) globally to start, scale and sustain their businesses.
Matt Wallace, Ellora-Julie Parekh and Lydia Savill will serve a three year term alongside the existing board members. For the first time, two young entrepreneurs Purity Gakuo (26) and Babajide Oluwase (32) who have been supported by YBI members are also joining the board to provide a crucial youth perspective.
Established in 2000, YBI’s leadership of the only global youth entrepreneurship network gives us a unique perspective on youth entrepreneurship worldwide, and the ability to bring together our global network of member enterprise support organisations to develop and scale the most effective solutions to the critical challenges facing young entrepreneurs.
Matt Wallace, is CEO of YBI member ONOW and a dedicated social entrepreneur with over a decade’s experience championing underserved young female business owners. ONOW has launched 500+ enterprises and innovatively employed technology platforms for 350,000 users. With his profound expertise in leveraging technology for MSME growth and a strong commitment to gender inclusivity, Matt will bring to the YBI board a unique perspective on scaling impact, promoting technological adoption, and furthering gender equity in entrepreneurship.
Ellora-Julie Parekh, an Indian-French executive, honed her strategy, education, ESG and regulatory experience over 20 years in senior roles at McKinsey and Company and leading education programs including Salzburg Global Seminar, an American non-for-profit. Ellora-Julie’s accomplishments reflect a track record of leading complex scale-up initiatives and strategic pivots induced by external factors. She has successfully scaled global initiatives, navigated complex stakeholder relationships, developed and mentored talent (in particular women leaders), and brokered significant partnerships while working on-the-ground in a range of geographies.
Lydia Savill is a partner in the commercial litigation team at Hogan Lovells, focussing on insurance and re-insurance disputes. She has been with Hogan Lovells all her professional life, joining the firm as a trainee. Lydia has more than 15 years’ experience helping her clients navigate their most complex disputes to a successful resolution. Lydia brings to the YBI board her experience of strategic thinking, risk mitigation and an ability to find commercial resolution to problems.
Purity Gakuo, CEO and Founder Kuza Freezer, Kenya was awarded YBI’s Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2022. As a social entrepreneur and young leader, she has been driven by the desire to make positive change. Her entrepreneurial journey has been defined by creative and innovative solutions. Kuza Freezer founded in 2020 has directly improved the livelihoods of over 2,600 young people involved in fish value chain businesses through affordable solar refrigeration. As a trustee, she brings a distinct blend of entrepreneurialism and a deep sense of purpose. Her knowledge of the complexities of social initiatives and ability to inspire teams, will be invaluable in shaping YBI's strategic direction. Her vision for a more sustainable future and track record of turning ideas into success, will help the board's collective efforts to steer YBI toward continued growth and transformative impact.
Babajide Oluwase is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ecotutu, a tech-enabled company that accelerates access to affordable solar-powered cold chain solutions, particularly for small and medium-scale businesses in Nigeria. He brings his entrepreneurial expertise, youthful energy, and dedication to shaping the strategic direction of Youth Business International to the board.
“I’m incredibly excited to be welcoming five new members to our board. Alongside the professional expertise and industry specific knowledge that Julie and Lydia bring, it’s fantastic to have Matt providing another crucial member perspective.
Excitingly, and as a first for Youth Business International, I’m particularly pleased to be welcoming two young entrepreneurs to the table; Purity and Babajide. I had the immense privilege of spending time with these two inspirational young entrepreneurs at YBI’s Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit. I’m looking forward to seeing what their passion, enthusiasm, youth perspective and energy can bring to help us improve and propel YBI. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome and congratulate all our new board members and I look forward to working together to help create one million jobs through supporting the start-up and growth of 250,000 youth-led businesses.”
For information on all YBI board and staff members please see here: https://www.youthbusiness.org/meet-the-team