Over a year has been dominated by protecting ourselves from the spread of COVID-19 and it has had a tumbling effect on the mental health of many, especially young entrepreneurs across the globe. National lockdowns and the pressure of keeping fledging businesses afloat has put unimaginable pressure upon thousands of young entrepreneurs. A global study by King's Business School on the mental health of entrepreneurs during the pandemic found that 61% of entrepreneurs saw the existence of their business under severe threat. Only 50% of entrepreneurs in the study found sufficient time to recover from work stress and 44% reported a lack of sleep due to it.
Entrepreneurship can provide young adults with the opportunity to develop independence, creativity and financial stability, which is why YBI is so passionate about supporting young entrepreneurs to thrive and run their businesses without compromising their mental health.
The reassurance that mentoring provides is crucial for uplifting motivation and gives young business owners a sense of community, something that is key for maintaining mental health and wellbeing.
Empowering young people with the ability to cope with the rollercoaster ride of emotions, successes and failures that entrepreneurial life brings is the reason that mentoring forms a foundation of our work at YBI. Our report Refocus, Retool, Reset: Insights from Youth Business International's COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme with Google.org found that the survival of some businesses relied on the relationship between mentor and mentee. Mentoring and accessible role models have proven to increase confidence and emotional resilience and improve decision-making abilities, which in turn produces better business performance.
Our Rapid Response and Recovery Programme supported by Google.org saw a staggering 145,738 entrepreneurs access mentoring, coaching and advisory services, business clinics, and webinars and training to develop key skills to respond to the pandemic. Our member YCAB Foundation based in Indonesia supported the emotional resilience of female entrepreneurs when many found their incomes reduced by up to 70% due to the pandemic. With YCAB Foundation's chatbot system, 34,003 entrepreneurs accessed support and advice through mentoring and WhatsApp groups with other entrepreneurs to form an emotional support network. The combination of mentoring and establishing peer communities via clinics and social media groups enabled the thousands of young entrepreneurs we supported in our programme to share experiences and to create a safe space to combat the loneliness that COVID-19 inflicted upon many.
We believe that mentoring is the key to successful entrepreneurship in a post-pandemic world, instigating young entrepreneurs to build back stronger. Read more about our work and the impact it has had here.