Entrepreneurs are “drivers of innovation” and “change agents” providing a win-win situation for all, and developing countries especially need them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. To invigorate the entrepreneurship ecosystem of the Global South, UNOSSC will provide one-stop shop support using South-South and triangular cooperation to 10,000 young entrepreneurs through the YES programme.
The Youth Entrepreneurship for the South (YES) programme is the “Entrepreneurship Pillar” developed under the “Youth4South” Advanced Youth Leadership Programme together with two other pillars namely, the “Capacity Development Trainings Pillar” and the “Fellowship Pillar”. Youth4South was launched by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) together with several partners, including the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, the China Institute for South-South Cooperation in Agriculture (CISSCA), the Finance Center for South-South Cooperation (FC-SSC), the International Fund for Agricultural Development, NOREC-Norway, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment in November 2017.
The role of the South-South and triangular cooperation in creating employment opportunities was highlighted in March 2019 at the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40). The BAPA+40 outcome recognized that South-South and triangular cooperation plays a significant role in capacity building, strengthening human resources and leveraging the role of education. In line with this, UNOSSC launched the YES programme at the Youth Climate Summit with support from the Office of Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the Shenzhen Youth Federation and the African Union Commission.
The YES programme was introduced at the Youth Climate Summit, as a commitment for the youth, by Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, together with Mr. Chen Daixing, representative from the Shenzhen Youth Federation.
Mr. Jorge Chediek shared that through the YES programme, young entrepreneurs will receive training that will empower them to fight climate change in their local communities. He stressed that climate action cannot be fully achieved without addressing inequality and creating equal employment opportunities for youth in developing countries.
From the Shenzhen Youth Federation, Mr. Chen Daixing, shared Shenzhen’s experience. Shenzhen is a young 40-year-old city known to be the innovation hub of China. He expressed that the Shenzhen Youth Federation is ready to join hands to support young entrepreneurs from the Global South to achieve the Agenda 2030.
YES is designed in response to the demands expressed by partners in providing young entrepreneurs from the Global South with access to entrepreneurship and skills development trainings, technologies, incubation and seed funding support, with an aim to equip them with entrepreneurial and self-employment skills, and to foster the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in developing countries.
YES will address climate action through innovation by supporting young entrepreneurs who are tackling climate change. In particular, YES will support digital transformation and adoption of green and renewable technologies, climate resilience smallholder agribusiness, start-ups and innovative solutions which reduce carbon emissions.
YES aims to train 10 000 people in the next five years. In addition, YES aims to incubate and fund 100 innovative development solutions and business ideas providing youth with access to training, mentoring, digital technologies, incubation and funding support.
YES aims to widen the participation of young entrepreneurs on both global and regional platforms and increase their engagement and exchange, and also direct access to markets, investors and financiers via an online community of practice and training platform.
YES doesn’t only exist on paper but is already put into action.
Building Capacity in Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Youth and Women Empowerment training will take place in November 2019 in Madagascar during the African Private Sector Forum in partnership with the African Union Commission, followed by Digital Entrepreneurship training in Shenzhen, China during the 2019 International Youth Innovation Conference. The third training will take place on Digital Payment and Fintech for Entrepreneurs in West Africa in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in December 2019 in Sierra Leone. For 2020, trainings are in discussion for Mali and Cote d’Ivoire with ECOWAS and in China with the World Food Programme Centre of Excellence in China.
Youth4South is an umbrella facility that facilitates capacity development for established youth leaders from developing countries to learn and adapt South-South and triangular cooperation knowledge and tools in scaling up Southern development solutions to bring sustainable development to their home countries and local communities. During the last year, Youth4South implemented four thematic and regional trainings, on themes such as South-South cooperation in agriculture development, rural transformation, and reproductive health, with participation of young professionals and government officials from close to 50 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Arab States, and Europe and CIS regions.