Washington, D.C., November 4, 2021. The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) participated in the Panel “Youth Entrepreneurship: Catalyzing Transformative Change”, held on November 1 at the Open Gov Hub offices in Washington, D.C.
This panel allowed to make new contributions to youth participation; providing action strategies and approaches to leaders to empower youth voices. Emphasis on the most pressing challenges currently facing youth, such as: COVID-19, Social Change, Entrepreneurship, and connectivity problems that make groups of young people even more vulnerable.
In her intervention, Valerie Lorena, Executive Director of YABT, shared reflections on the social action necessary for information to reach youth, mentioning that “We have focused on Latin America and the Caribbean for the past 15 years. Although it is difficult to compare the continents; we can reach an agreement that in all places, being an entrepreneur is a difficult task ”.
This panel highlighted that although the world is evolving, and youth are learning and educating themselves; they are still under-represented in a country's decision-making. Political leaders tend to disregard the ideas of young people, making the youth job market limited based on understanding of the population and opportunities.
“All young entrepreneurs in the world have internal and external challenges. Internal like when they open a business and fight feelings of Am I doing it right? and external when distant problems such as the pandemic affect those efforts” , added Lorena, who pointed out the following: “For YABT, the most important thing is the visibility it provides to young people to develop their businesses.”
The pandemic made it possible to connect with young people from different parts of the world, but it also meant and continues to be a challenge for vulnerable young people. To promote the meaningful participation of youth in decision-making processes, Generation Democracy connects members with their peers and potential partners to collaborate and share ideas, while equipping them with tools and resources to promote their participation in civic political processes; and enables them to provide opportunities to put the skills learned into practice.
Sharing learning spaces with representatives from different continents; as are Africa, America, Europe, and Asia; represents a step forward in diversifying the opportunities we want to present to youth.
The Panel also featured the participation of Eliza Chard from Creative Associates International; and Nancy McDonald, representing Bayan Global. Both, together with Valerie Lorena, exchanged experiences and relevant data on youth entrepreneurship, highlighting good practices from their respective organizations and fields of action.
In this sense, Eliza Chard, expressed that “This generation of young people is the most educated of all time. Young people are more willing than ever to contribute to society; And best of all, they come with solutions. We must listen to them, gather information and place them in positions of power where they can advocate for their communities and their interests.”
In the same way, Nancy McDonald opined that: “To solve a specific problem; we need to invest in research and development of it. Working with young people, we must change existing opportunities; we usually focus on the opportunities that don't exist; instead of the ones that do exist”. McDonald continued, expressing at the same time that “We must begin to see the reality of the matter, emphasizing the opportunities that do exist for these young people. This is achieved by providing access to information, access to resources, and access to financing for the businesses of these young people."
These discussions are an opportunity to exchange stories, learnings and resources to the different actors dedicated to youth development, allowing the creation of resilient, responsible, just and inclusive communities.
Learn more about the YABT and explore opportunities for strategic alliances to invest in the youth of the Americas, by contacting us via firstname.lastname@example.org