Our Partners: CITI Foundation 

In 2015, Youth Business International (YBI) and Citi Foundation have launched  Youth Business Europe, a regional programme to support young people to become entrepreneurs. Citi, through its Pathways to Progress initiative invested $1mn in the programme that ran from 2015 to 2017.

In 2017, YBI and Citi Foundation are coming together for a second partnership, for $1.6mn, continuing their work to support young entrepreneurs in Europe.


During the first partnership (2015-2017), Citi invested $1m to allow YBI to launch Youth Business Europe, a regional programme bringing together six YBI member organisations with the aim of supporting 5,550 young people across the life of the partnership. By the conclusion of the programme in June 2017 it had well exceeded its core targets, supporting a total of 9,022 young people through entrepreneurship training and mentoring, and fostering the creation of more than 2,200 businesses.

With this partnership, the Citi Foundation helped YBI to tackle youth unemployment and drive sustainable economic growth across the region. Furthermore, the regional approach of this partnership gave the six YBI member organisatons the opportunity to work closely together and share knowledge, best practice and methodologies, allowing them to better serve Europe’s young entrepreneurs.

Andrew Devenport, YBI CEO:

“The results achieved during the first partnership exceeded our expectations and revealed the need to innovate in youth entrepreneurship support at regional level. In this new partnership with the Citi Foundation, we will explore more ways to develop our support to young entrepreneurs, enhancing the digital and social components in the innovation process.”

Youth unemployment in Europe continues to soar (16.7% in June 2017[1]) and, building on the successes of the first partnership, a key aim of the second is to tackle this issue. The programme has already helped people like Mustafa, who set up a business offering social integration courses for migrants in Sweden and Alicia, who started a business to connect women in Spain, empowering them professionally.

Key partnership features and future goals:

  • – This second partnership has been expanded to include two new countries;
  • – The programme now includes member organisations in seven countries: microStart in Belgium, Positive Planet and Adie in France, KIZ in Germany, PermicroLab in Italy, Qredits in the Netherlands, Youth Business Spain in Spain and NyforetagarCentrum in Sweden; expansion of the programme into Ireland is underway;
  • – Over the next two years it will provide a further 8,700 young people with entrepreneurship training;
  • – It will help over 2,500 young people to start or grow a business;
  • – It will initiate over 1,000 business mentoring relationships;
  • – As a result of this programme, young entrepreneurs will create employment for young people in their areas, stimulating their local economy.


In addition, this second partnership will further develop the initial joint working component. The nine YBI member organisations included in the programme will collaborated to innovate and develop new methodologies for supporting young entrepreneurs in Europe.

Zdenek Turek, Europe Cluster Head, Citibank Europe Plc CEO, CCO Ireland said:

“Investing in today’s youth is critical to the health of society and the economy. Targeted programmes like Youth Business Europe have supported young people to develop new businesses that have positively contributed to economic growth and social wellbeing. Our continued partnership with YBI, under our Pathways to Progress initiative, will build on our achievements and set more young people on a sustainable economic path.”

The partnership is one of the Citi Foundation’s flagship EMEA programmes, 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 $100million commitment from the Citi Foundation to reach 500,000 young people with entrepreneurship and employability training before 2020.


Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. They invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for young people, and re-imagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com


[1] Data according to Eurostat: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/8121455/3-31072017-AP-EN.pdf/



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© Youth Business International 2017. In the UK Youth Business International is a registered charity no: 1123946. Tel +44 (0)20 3326 2060.