Day 2 roundup: Global Youth Entrepreneurship Festival


On the second day of the Global Youth Entrepreneurship Festival, we focused on the themes of innovation and digital skills, concluding the day with our Innovation Awards ceremony. Thank you to everyone who joined us to learn, share, and collaborate! Here’s a summary of the day’s events. 

Did you miss Day 2? Sign up for Day 3 on the GYEF webpage

Google.org Programme Community of Practice event 

Day Two kicked off with a fantastic session led by Evren Aydoğan of Idema, based in Turkey. Idema is an international development management consultancy participating in our Rapid Response & Recovery Programme funded by Google.org

Turkey hosts more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, as well as 1 million refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. Evren introduced two innovative projects led by Idema to facilitate the social and economic inclusion of refugee communities: L.I.F.E. (Livelihoods Innovation Food Entrepreneurship) and KÜME ("Production Center for Women”). L.I.F.E. supports refugees to build food businesses to create sustainable livelihoods in Turkey, and KÜME is establishing a female-led social cooperative involving women from both refugee and host communities. 

  • To run effective and inclusive programmes for refugee communities, Idema focus on four key areas: 
  • Ensuring an adequately resourced workplace; 
  • Providing multicultural working environment; 
  • Fostering participatory social value and business design; 
  • Focusing on social inclusion rather than social cohesion. 

Evren also showed an innovative ‘needs map’ co-developed by Idema, which pinpoints needs (e.g. someone urgently needing housing) and encourages other users to approach each need with a solution (e.g. a place to stay). 

Welcome to Day Two and the Digital Accelerator

The official start of the Day Two of the Festival showcased key insights and learnings from YBI’s Digital Accelerator programme, in partnership with Accenture and IKEA Foundation.

 Hans van Hooff from Accenture Development Partners set the scene by diving into some of the digital trends in a post-COVID world, highlighting that leaps and bounds in technology often go hand in hand with particularly challenging times. However, organisations that don’t pivot to respond to crises can risk being left behind.  

Our member B’YEAH in Bangladesh is pulling out all the stops to ensure entrepreneurs aren’t left behind in Bangladesh. Tragically, 90% of start-ups in Bangladesh were damaged by the pandemic, but Mahadhe demonstrated how he and the team have been helping entrepreneurs find the right digital solutions to survive and thrive.  Their digital maturity workshops highlighted that internal systems and LMS are the most crucial improvements needed. 

Lastly, Helena Vieira from Aliança Empreendedora shared their innovative new tool and website which helps mentors and mentees get matched with each other. She called it the Tinder of Mentoring! 

Successful Pitching and Fundraising with Bob Dorf 

Renowned serial entrepreneur, mentor and long-term friend of YBI, Bob Dorf, ran a session full of practical tips for entrepreneurs to find investors, and for mentors helping them secure funding. These are some of Bob’s top tips: 

  • It’s important to remember that ‘funders aren’t in your building.’ Business owners must go out there and create opportunities for themselves.
  • A must-have for young entrepreneurs is ‘fire in their belly,’ that is, drive, tenacity, and passion. Funders will look for this fire too.  
  • The business should solve a critical or urgent problem. It doesn’t have to be a ‘magical solution,’ but at least it should solve a customer’s problem.  
  • The business idea must be easy to explain to a customer or funder. Don’t get lost on words or documents – use them to help you build your funding bid but get straight to the reason why your business is needed.  

Finally, Bob encourages young entrepreneurs not to feel hopeless in the face of the pandemic. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic is a horrible situation for lots of us, but it can’t be an excuse not to take action. We’re entrepreneurs; we’re problem-solvers by nature.’ 

Regional Innovation Workshops 

Over the past two weeks, 67 brilliant minds from 37 countries in the YBI network came together at YBI’s series of Innovation Workshops. In this session, the YBI team presented the solutions we generated together to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing young entrepreneurs. 

The workshops focused on 3 key themes: Social and Green Entrepreneurship, Inclusivity, and Digital Connectivity. The findings showed that similar, though not identical, challenges were faced by young entrepreneurs across all themes and regions. 

Many solutions focused on internal organisational change: for instance, fostering inclusivity by constructing your team to reflect the communities they serve. The topic of Inclusivity generated the greatest and most diverse number of solutions, reflecting how inclusivity has different meanings in different cultural contexts. The most practical ideas were produced in relation to the Digital Connectivity topic, such as solutions to poor infrastructure restricting digital access. 

Innovation Awards 

The final session of the day honoured the incredible work of YBI members throughout 2020. This year has thrown unprecedented challenges at all of us, which is why we decided to honour not one, but three of our members for their innovative responses to the COVID-19 crisis. 

The three winners of our Innovation Awards are: 

  • Youth Business Spain: Youth Business Spain’s Personal Canvas is a visual and agile tool for self-assessment - helping young entrepreneurs to reflect and create an action plan for adapting their business to COVID-19. So far, it has been used by almost 2,000 young entrepreneurs in Spain! 
  • Keren Shemesh, Israel: When COVID-19 hit Israel, Keren Shemesh created an online hub system that connects young entrepreneurs with relevant experts for crisis support – increasing expert-entrepreneur pairings by more than 10 times! 
  • Inner City Enterprise, Ireland: Inner City Enterprise quickly moved all their services online to support young entrepreneurs through COVID-19 with sessions on crisis management, resilience, working from home and so much more, helping them stay engaged and positive through the lockdown.

Congratulations to all our worthy winners!

For those who missed a session and are keen to learn more, all sessions were recorded and will be available online next week on the Festival webpage. Many sessions had to end when there were still a lot of questions that people wanted to ask. Please get in touch with Jo or Lucy at YBI with your questions to our speakers, and we will make sure they all get passed on to be answered.  

Book recommendations from our Google.org Programme Community of Practice

At the start of this morning's Google.org Programme Community of Practice event, our icebreaker activity was to share the name of a book that had helped us at work. Here are the contributions:

·         Zero to One - Peter Theil 

·         Effectuation - Saras Sarasvathy 

·         The Business of the Changing World - Raj Kumar 

·         Start-up owner’s manual – Steve Blank and Bob Dorf 

·         Live happier - Hopson & Scally 

·         Exceptional People - How migration shaped our world and will define our Future - Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron and Meera Balarajan around the world in 80 trades - Conor Woodman 

·         Susan Cain  - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by. P.S.  

·         Adam Grant - Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success 



Other Resources

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The Jute entrepreneurs bringing sustainable economic growth to Bangladesh


“Learning from each other”: Empowering migrant and refugee entrepreneurs in Turkey


Those who make it possible

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IKEA Foundation

IKEA Foundation

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

EEA and Norway Grants

EEA and Norway Grants

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

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