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What are the skills young entrepreneurs need to thrive now and in the future?

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Fuelled by the mass adoption of digital technologies, the globalisation of markets and demographic shifts, the world of work is rapidly changing. From crowdfunding platforms to ecommerce, global supply chains to the gig economy, new opportunities are opening for young entrepreneurs. However, there are also new risks and challenges.

To thrive in this context, young entrepreneurs need not just ‘hard’ business and digital skills and sector knowledge. They must also have the ‘soft’ skills that shape how they interact with others and achieve their goals. There is growing consensus on the importance of these soft skills but limited guidance on what they are or how to best develop them. Our new research, Entrepreneurial soft skills for the future: a scoping study helps address this gap.

Youth Business International (YBI) is a global network of expert organisations supporting underserved young people to turn their ideas into successful businesses, create jobs and shape local economies. Through our work in over 50 countries, we have seen the pivotal role that soft skills can play in entrepreneurial success. Investment in this area is a priority for our members.

Drawing on an extensive literature review and interviews with members and external experts, our new research outlines a framework for the soft skills young entrepreneurs need now and in the future - from intra and interpersonal skills such as mindfulness and business storytelling to create and solve skills such as systems thinking and co-design. Developing and assessing these skills is no easy task. However, we highlight key learning and promising practices from YBI and beyond.

For YBI this research is the first step in developing our new soft skills training provision. Over the next two years, we will test and refine the framework with different groups of young entrepreneurs in different contexts, working closely with our members and the young people they support. Over time we aim to scale the new service across our network. In parallel, we will continue to evolve our digital skills provision which is closely connected.

The YBI network works tirelessly to provide the best possible support to underserved young entrepreneurs around the word. To do this we must continually innovate our services. We are proud to share this research as a reflection of this commitment. We welcome the opportunity to connect and collaborate with others working on this critical agenda.

Read our full report, here.

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