Enterprise Development

Overview

Enterprise development programs help entrepreneurs to start and run profitable businesses through training, technical assistance, and inclusive market development activities. While the dynamism and innovation that entrepreneurs bring to an economy are one reason to implement activities in this area, the inability of the formal sector to produce enough jobs for the growing youth population makes self-employment an important option for youth as well.

Where We Are Now?

Similar to the general enterprise and market development field, youth enterprise development has moved from a focus solely on the enterprise itself to a more holistic approach. While providing training or technical assistance to an entrepreneur is still important, practitioners are complementing these types of assistance with activities to strengthen an enterprise’s overall ecosystem. For example, projects now include initiatives to strengthen entrepreneurs’ networks, so that they can gain business or mentoring assistance as necessary, or focus on strengthening the overall value chain specific to youth enterprises.

Trends and Best Practices:

  • Not all entrepreneurs are created equal. Many youth start businesses out of necessity and are unlikely to grow their business beyond the micro-stage. A smaller subset are more entrepreneurial minded and given the right set of circumstances, have a greater chance to develop a successful small enterprise. Practitioners and donors are distinguishing between these types of individuals and providing different types of support to each.
  • Successful young entrepreneurs capitalize on their passion and market opportunities. Successful programs recognize this and help develop opportunities in areas that are naturally interesting to youth, or work to educate youth that more traditional activities, such as agriculture, can be both inspiring and remunerative.
  • Successful capacity building initiatives help entrepreneurs obtain the information they need and have the skills to manipulate it for business success.
  • Entrepreneurs require the skills to both run a profitable business and a financially stable household.
  • USAID and other donors have begun incorporating youth inclusion activities to value chain projects in a more robust way. By integrating a “youth lens” in value chain assessments, implementers are able to identify constraints and opportunities specific to youth and beyond those that apply to value chain actors more broadly.

 

Enterprise Development: Blogs

How Employers Can Lead on Youth Unemployment

Originally posted on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation blog. 

Employers need to improve their ability to measure, manage, and raise the skill level of their employees in order to remain competitive and achieve their business goals.

On International Youth Day, the World Risks Squandering 'Peak Youth'

Originally posted by the Global Post on August 12, 2015. 

Speaking before the African Union in Ethiopia last month, President Obama said, “The most urgent task facing Africa today ... is to create opportunity for this next generation.”

The Answer to Ending Youth Unemployment in Palestine

Originally published by the Huffington Post on July 30, 2015. 

Unemployment Among Young Adults: Exploring Employer-Led Solutions

Younger workers consistently experience higher unemployment and less job stability than older workers. Yet the dramatic deterioration in employment outcomes among younger workers during and since the Great Recession creates new urgency about developing more effective bridges into full-time employment for young people, especially those with less than a bachelor’s degree.

Putting Youth Employment at the Heart of Growth

The demographic divide is stark: while industrial nations are aging, the face of the developing world is overwhelmingly young. In Africa for example, nearly 70% of the population is under the age of 30. Tapping the potential of this emerging generation is a critical challenge. According to the International Labour Organization, two-thirds of working-age youth in some developing countries are either unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs. 

Resource Type: 
Report

What Youth Want: A Guide for Policy Makers

In this review of 25 statements from youth summits and consultations globally, as well as 11 national and regional youth polls, we hear some priorities we expect: youth want jobs, the chance to start their own businesses, and high-quality relevant education.

But we also see that young people everywhere are increasingly concerned about issues of governance, corruption, and both regional and national security.

Resource Type: 
Toolkit