YBI and the Citi Foundation renew their commitment to support low-income young entrepreneurs across Europe

A new USD $700,000 grant, part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress global initiative, will enable Youth Business International (YBI) to provide 4,500 young people with entrepreneurship skills training across Europe, Kazakhstan and Russia - generating 1,150 new jobs.

The Citi Foundation and YBI announced today their renewed commitment to supporting low income young entrepreneurs across Europe to start, sustain and grow successful businesses.

Started in 2015, this partnership - called Youth Business Europe - has delivered impressive results by providing aspiring young entrepreneurs with an integrated package of financial and non-financial support. This includes entrepreneurship skills training, mentoring and access to low-interest loans. To date, 24,000 young people have been supported. These young people have started or strengthened 5,700 businesses.

The programme has supported talented young people across Europe to realise their potential through entrepreneurship. This includes Mohamed, a Syrian refugee who brought a touch of his culture to Belgium by opening a Syrian restaurant, and Roisin, originally from rural Ireland, who set up her photography business in Dublin.

According to Eurostat, youth unemployment rates across Europe remain high - reaching 15% in January 2019. Spain and Italy struggle with the highest rates of youth unemployment in Europe at 33%. The new partnership will build on the achievements of the Youth Business Europe partnership to date, ensuring a continued focus on tackling this pressing issue.

The new partnership has extended to include Russia and Kazakhstan. This means that Youth Business Europe now includes YBI members in 10 countries: Belgium (microStart), France (Adie, Positive Planet), Germany (KIZ), Italy (MicroLab), Ireland (Inner City Enterprise), Kazakhstan (MOST Business Incubator), the Netherlands (Qredits), Russia (Youth Business Russia and ImpactHub Moscow), Spain (Youth Business Spain), and Sweden (Swedish Jobs and Society)

Over the next year, the new partnership will provide a further 4,500 underserved youth with entrepreneurship skills training. 1,000 young people will be supported to start, grow or sustain a business, leading to the creation of 1,150 new jobs. It will include a focus on supporting more young women into entrepreneurship – recognising the significant barriers they often face. As part of this, a new “Young Entrepreneurs in Europe Awards” will be held. This will be a powerful opportunity to showcase the successful, young female entrepreneurs supported by the programme.

Anita Tiessen, CEO of YBI, said:

“As youth unemployment remains high across Europe, we are determined to support more aspiring young entrepreneurs to create and strengthen their own businesses. Recognizing the additional barriers that women often face in starting a business, we share Citi Foundation’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment and will support more young women into entrepreneurship by making gender a cross-cutting issue.”

Rachael Barber, EMEA Head of Community Development at Citi, said:

“At Citi, we believe that entrepreneurship can help young Europeans to build a livelihood. We are delighted that our continued partnership with YBI will also reflect our shared commitment to women’s economic empowerment, as well as bridging the gap between the entrepreneurial aspirations of young people and the challenges they face today.”

Youth Business Europe is the Citi Foundation’s flagship European programme, and is part of its Pathways to Progress initiative, which works to prepare and equip urban youth with the tools to thrive in today's economy. 2017 saw the expansion of Pathways to Progress globally, with a $100 million commitment from the Citi Foundation to reach 500,000 young people with entrepreneurship and employability training before 2020.

Download the press release.

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