Guide to Youth Entrepreneurship Programs for Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations
Sustainable economic growth requires entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs create new jobs, contribute to economic expansion, and become stakeholders in supporting a healthy business environment. As communities across the world struggle to meet employment demands, the importance of fostering a next generation of entrepreneurs – both job creators and entrepreneurial employees – is particularly salient.
Chambers of commerce and business associations play a pivotal role in supporting entrepreneurship. They are uniquely positioned between governments looking to create economic growth and the private sector desire to develop a new generation of employees. As the voice of the business community, chambers and associations are able advocate for the reforms necessary to encourage job creation. Very often, these reforms lie at the heart of the interests of young people in these countries.
Young people’s ability to participate in their country’s economic life is a serious problem around the world. According to a report by the International Labor Organization, one in eight youth will be unemployed this year. That translates into almost 75 million unemployed youth around the world – over 4 million more than in 2007. Facing impediments such as underdeveloped educational systems and the resultant skill gap, cultural barriers, and poorly designed policies, youth consistently face higher rates of unemployment and underemployment than the populous as a whole, and this has the potential to destabilize society.
This guidebook is a resource for chambers of commerce, associations, and other business-oriented groups seeking to address some of the obstacles that young people face as they attempt to enter the economy in their communities. Its purpose is to share practical lessons practices from youth entrepreneurship programs from around the world and serve as a guide for business associations and chambers to develop or expand successful youth entrepreneurship and employment programs.