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The young entrepreneur of the year is...

Last week in Kampala we chose the Young Entrepreneur of the Year and celebrated the achievements of young entrepreneurs from around the world.

The YBI network met in the most entrepreneurial country in the world to share their experience in the various types of businesses they run and to learn from one another – by the end of the event they made valuable connections that will help them grow their businesses and even expand to other countries. We also crowned our Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2016, from an incredibly strong field of finalists.

Take Tharindu, one of the finalists for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He started his SMS based marketing business in Sri Lanka and soon expanded to the African market, via Nigeria. Tharindu made the most of the event and left Kampala with a clear plan to expand his business to Uganda and Kenya thanks to the connections he made with other like minded entrepreneurs.

Now look at Rigo. In his event set-up business he employs migrants and at risk youth, giving them the opportunity to have an income in their fragile living situation. In Kampala, Rigo may have significantly increased the number of employees as he was approached by participants in the event and connected with people living in Sweden who could become part of Rigo’s team. Now that’s some social impact, made from all the way across the world.

And Tusshar – he has an extremely successful business in India, building infrastructure and employing over 200 people. His business was such an inspiration that he attracted a new business opportunity in collaboration with the restaurateur at the Sheraton hotel which hosted the event. Jhon’s business particularly portrayed the power of entrepreneurship to revamp a community that was living in poverty. Through product innovation and a unique business model, he created an entire production chain and restored a lost cultural tradition and energised the community by creating employment and by stimulating production and trade - with the resources at hand. Jhon’s business is around processing Guinea Pig meat and bringing alternative food sources to his region. 

“Today we speak a lot about sustainable development in terms that are much too technical and bureaucratic. In countries like Perú there are a lot of other problems that should be dealt with if we want to ever reach the true meaning of sustainable development. And one way to do that is through innovation”.

And this is what he did. Jhon is building a new market and creating an industry - he developed the technology to process the meat and is now in the process of patenting this technology and make way to the rebirth of a tradition in the food industry. Moreover, he is looking at other health benefits he can bring about through his business - he is working with researchers from Europe to identify the potential uses of Guinea Pigs in medicine. Because of the creativity, innovation and community impact of his business, Jhon received the title of YBI Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016. In his business success he received support from YBI member in Peru, Perspektiva.

This is only a drop in the sea of opportunities that emerge from an event such as the Young Entrepreneur Awards and other YBI network events across the world. Young entrepreneurs sharing their experiences and learning from others’ is what this global network is all about. By working together our members and the entrepreneurs they support are able to increase of the impact they have in their local communities. From changing perceptions regarding entrepreneurship and self-employment to borrowing business models from other successful entrepreneurs, the results of the event brought the promise of youth to the centre of the development efforts across the world. The Promise of Youth brought together young entrepreneurs, practitioners in the field, representatives from the private sector alongside civil society organisations working to support youth and livelihoods.

The event was organised with the support of YBI member in Uganda, Enterprise Uganda, Barclays, VSO and Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

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