2023 marks the first year of YBI’s renewed strategy and our ambitious goal to create one million jobs through supporting the start-up and growth of 250,000 youth-led businesses.
We know that young entrepreneurs are agents of change and youth entrepreneurship is a critical lever for economic recovery and resilience, driving towards a just, fair and greener future for us all.
Despite this enormous potential, entrepreneurship remains out of reach for millions of young people. That’s where YBI comes in. As the only organisation dedicated to youth entrepreneurship globally, we have been leading our global network of members to accelerate more impact for more young people. We’ve focused on supporting our members to empower young entrepreneurs to become a force for good, running businesses that address social and environmental challenges. We know what excellence in youth entrepreneurship support looks like. We’re working to expand our network to increase our reach and impact across the globe and we’re making a case for youth entrepreneurship globally by advocating for the needs of young entrepreneurs on the global stage.
Together with our dedicated members, in 2023 Youth Business International has driven innovation, tested and scaled new financial models, built targeted programmes supporting truly inclusive entrepreneurship and piloted and scaled specific support to drive a new generation of green and social jobs.
We have continued to expand our network, helped deepen the relationships between YBI members and advocated for youth entrepreneurship in the corridors of power.
We were also pleased to welcome five new members to the YBI Board including two young social entrepreneurs, Babajide Oluwase from Nigeria and Purity Gakuo from Kenya. We look forward to their contributions to the Network.
See below for a summary of our highlights from the year.
Funded by Standard Chartered Foundation, we led a range of programmes and projects under Futuremakers by Standard Chartered supporting women-led businesses in Kenya to grow, empowering displaced Ukrainians in Poland to start or re-start a business, and equipping young female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs with disabilities across Africa, Asia and Europe with vital entrepreneurship skills and networks.
Supported by Accenture, we launched our new SEER (Seeking Economic Empowerment and Resilience) programme for young refugee and migrant entrepreneurs in Germany, Ireland, Italy and Sweden and continued The Ophikiwin Series: Journey to Financial Empowerment, a financial literacy programme for young Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada.
As part of this work, YBI members piloted our Sustainability Toolkit, supported by JPMorgan Chase, and Social and Green Toolkit, supported by Accenture, this year, enabling young entrepreneurs to integrate sustainable environmental practices into their existing business or build an effective social or green enterprise. We are looking forward to continuing celebrating young green and social entrepreneurs next year with our Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2024, following our first ever Youth Business International Bootcamp.
To support underserved young social entrepreneurs in South Korea, we continued our COVID-19 Recovery Programme, supported by Google.org, delivering in-depth training and support focused on young women.
We were pleased to see our global network grow in 2023 and welcomed eight new members: ONOW (Myanmar), Action Finance Initiative (AFI) (Greece), Fetola (South Africa), Impact Square (South Korea), Work Together Foundation (WTF) (South Korea), Startup Vietnam Foundation (SVF) (Vietnam), TERN (United Kingdom), Launch it! (United Kingdom), and LSETF (Nigeria).
Throughout the year, we offered a range of learning and training opportunities, including our new Member Learning Exchange Scheme, our Leadership Series for CEOs and our Mentoring Programme Managers series. As part of our Inclusivity Month in October, we launched our Toolkit for Gender Inclusivity, a comprehensive resource for our members to improve gender inclusivity within their organisation and programmes.
This included sharing insights and recommendations at Making Cents International’s Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, The Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), and UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum (WIF).
In February 2023, YBI joined The Possibilists, a global alliance of the world's leading youth-focused social innovation networks, supported by Google.org, collaborating to shape and enhance the social innovation space, deliver real insights and create solutions to unleash the power of young changemakers worldwide.
To share insights on the factors that enabled top performers from our High Flyers I programme in Uganda to scale their businesses, we launched our new research report ‘Identifying and Supporting High Flying Businesses - An Exploratory Analysis of Enterprise and Entrepreneur Data’. YBI is drawing on these findings to identify, select, and support high-growth businesses and improve inclusive outcomes in our global High Flyers II programme, funded by the Argidius Foundation.
We look forward to continuing our work in 2024 and supporting more underserved young entrepreneurs worldwide together with our global network of members and with the support from our partners.