October marks YBI's Inclusivity Month, a month to celebrate and raise awareness of our programmes being inclusive to all, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or health. YBI prides itself on being a global network for entrepreneurs to access support, advice and mentoring in order to catalyse entrepreneurial success. Hence, establishing inclusivity is vital for ensuring every individual has an equal opportunity to succeed.
In the UK alone, the unemployment rate for people living with a disability is 8.4%. In developing countries, this rate is as high as 80-90%. According to Government figures, only one in three businesses in the UK are run by women, despite women outnumbering men by approximately 900,000. In addition, women own just 36% of small businesses globally, potentially due to lack of finance, networks or childcare responsibilities. This is why it is essential for YBI members to ensure their programmes are inclusive in reaching the hardest to reach entrepreneurs. Inclusivity Month offers a chance to reflect upon our programmes and services- are they accessible to any given individual?
This month, our members participated in training on digital inclusivity and how to hold inclusive events, highlighting key elements that need to be considered to ensure inclusivity is achieved. This includes the consideration of an individual's ability to access devices or physical events, ensuring a person feels actively included and understands the direct relevance that a programme or service has to them. YBI members were also introduced to the digital inclusivity framework which highlights the four key areas to consider when delivering inclusive events and ensuring digital inclusivity: ability, motivation, individual and social considerations. This training provides a platform for reflection of how inclusivity is implemented and how it could be improved.
YBI members Development Solutions in Mongolia, Habitat Association in Turkey, ideiaLab in Mozambique and MicroLab in Italy, alongside the YBI team, have co-created an Inclusivity Toolkit. This toolkit is a guide for organisations to identify inclusion and diversity priorities and allow reflection on how their programmes and services can be more inclusive. The toolkit has the overall purpose of empowering underserved young people and ensuring they are not excluded from accessing programmes and mentoring for reasons such as a lack of access to a device, the affordability of the device, or a lack of confidence in their own ability to participate in events.
Check out how the toolkit has helped Development Solutions, Habitat, ideiaLab and MicroLab become more inclusive:
We also acknowledged World Online Networking Day on 29th October which celebrates online business networking and creating business opportunities in the digital world. COVID-19 has transformed our model of communication, with a dramatic rise in remote working and digital communications and marketing. World Online Networking Day is a chance to reflect and celebrate everyone interacting online across the globe to build relationships and businesses. Entwining with Inclusivity Month, inclusivity in online networking is also essential for promoting diversity and tackling discrimination.
You can read more about designing inclusive digital interventions and a Digital Inclusivity Framework here.