Last month, the UN delivered a stark warning to the world – that the potential of 1.8 billion young people will be wasted due to lack of education, investment in infrastructure and jobs.
The dire global economic situation is taking its toll on millions of young people around the world, who are at risk of seeing their most economically productive years wasted.
We live in uncertain times. But one thing that is certain is that this needs to change – and a key way to change it is through entrepreneurship.
Governments around the world are well aware of the importance of entrepreneurship in delivering the much-needed economic recovery. The simple fact is that there are far too few jobs available and to alleviate this problem global leaders are exhorting young people to be more enterprising. With youth unemployment topping one million in the UK and record levels of youth unemployment elsewhere in Europe – 29 per cent in Italy, 43 per cent in Greece and a staggering 48 per cent in Spain – entrepreneurship is vital for the future success of these economies.
We need to create the conditions to enable young people to start their own business and become their own boss. At present, the reality is that not enough are taking the plunge.
Starting up on your own, particularly at a young age, can seem daunting to say the least. With little practical business experience, too many people are either too scared to give it a go or are falling at the first hurdle. There is in fact a great deal that can be done to support young people and encourage entrepreneurship, and big business, government and the wider community all have their part to play.
But there are also a number of initiatives already underway that aim to boost entrepreneurship in young people.
This week the largest entrepreneur movement has been taking place around the world –Global Entrepreneurship Week – which aimed to address the concerns of budding entrepreneurs and to enable more people to create successful ventures.
With over 40,000 events taking place in 104 countries, the week has been a celebration of entrepreneurship and has seen the participation of 10 million people across the world.
Entrepreneurship needs to be celebrated in this way if we are to encourage more young people to start their own business.
The Youth Business International Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which acted as a prelude to Global Entrepreneurship Week, was one such scheme to help inspire young people by celebrating the achievements of successful entrepreneurs. They can see the endless possibilities that lie ahead for people who launch their own business.
We need more initiatives like this so that budding entrepreneurs are spurred on to start their own venture and to in turn drive economic recovery that the world so desperately needs.
Now is the time for entrepreneurs, so let’s act fast to get the world back on the road to recovery.
Andrew Devenport is CEO of Youth Business International, official hosts of Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK.
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