Things are looking bleak. According to the International Labour Organisation, global unemployment currently stands at 203.3 million and Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England says that we are experiencing the worst financial crisis in history.
So what can we as individuals do to overcome this period of austerity and uncertainty? The answer lies with the entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are the unsung heroes that create the wealth, jobs and innovation that economies need for their growth. I think Barack Obama sums it up neatly when he says: “Entrepreneurship is essential to the strength and resilience of our economy and our way of life.”
Obama’s new jobs plan is a clear recognition that he needs entrepreneurs to be starting businesses and creating jobs if the US is going to find its way out of its current economic malaise.
Contrary to the myth that entrepreneurs are born not made, the ability to start your own business is not a case of an accident of birth or the possession of a rare talent. Through entrepreneurship, each of us has the potential to be a hero.
I am a firm believer that for the younger generation, entrepreneurship is the route to creating wealth and achieving positive social change and to this end I have been working with the UK, Slovakian and Romanian governments to remodel how they approach small businesses in order to encourage growth. Additionally, I was part of the UK’s government delegation last month to Africa, accompanying Prime Minister David Cameron.
What all this work has reinforced to me is that it’s vital that we continue to celebrate the role of entrepreneurship in driving economic freedom and independence around the world. We need action on a global scale to prepare and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
This week, I will launch a global advice show for entrepreneurs that will provide budding business owners from across the globe with the skills and support required to launch a successful enterprise.
Small Giants will premiere this week at One Young World in Zurich, a global youth leadership summit that brings together 1,200 delegates, primarily under the age of 25, from over 170 countries worldwide. The event, taking place from September 1-4, is supported by a distinguished line-up of counsellors including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof, Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus, plus chief executives including Paul Polman of Unilever, Antony Jenkins of Barclays Retail and Jean-Paul Agon of L’Oreal.
Our Small Giants show, sponsored by one of the UK’s leading welfare-to-work specialists A4e, will be broadcast across mobile and internet channels and features three young entrepreneurs from England, Argentina and Romania, showcasing their respective entrepreneurial journeys.
One Young World is the ideal forum for the unveiling of the show, because the young delegates in Zurich know that they have the power to be part of the solution. They are gathering to come up with real actions to address the many challenges that their generation will inherit from mine.
Through the telling of the stories of those that have already set out on the journey to build great businesses, we will share the obstacles they face and the challenges they have overcome along the way and in doing so hope to help many others.
It’s clear that it is the small giants that will change the world and through this programme we want to support them in their undertaking to grow and flourish.
Doug Richard is the founder of School for Startups. Join Small Giants online live in Zurich Thursday 1st September at 11:00 (CEST).
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