The 2016 duvet

2016 in the wider context was at best a year that created uncertainty and at worst was simply a crap year. When I was really young I remember scaring myself thinking there was a monster in my room, but if I hid under my duvet all will be ok…

2016 was a year when too often fear dominated. Fear makes us close off, it makes us scared of those things we don’t understand. Put very simply fear makes us look inward and we isolate ourselves.

Lets take a moment to think of the fight or flight analogy. In 2016 did we fight for what we believe in? Did we fight for what in our hearts we know to be right, a world where those that truly need support are helped, those that a desperately trying to find a better life for their families are supported? Or did we take flight? Did we allow fear and hateful rhetoric to rule us?

Too often we look at the scenes we see on the news, the circumstances that have caused them and the problems just seems so huge, we run the risk of sitting back and thinking there isn’t much I can do.

But there is.

2017 needs to be year where we meet the language of fear in all is guises head on, it has to be a year when we call out hateful rhetoric pedaled by scaremongers, it needs to be a year where we encourage our politicians to be statesmen and women, we need to support them to make the tough global decisions that will drive real support for those that need it the most. We just cannot sit back and think it will all be ok. We cannot hide under our duvets.

Fear won’t go away, it will just embed itself and grow, it will create xenophobic and isolationist mentalities. It needs to be countered and the only way that this can be done is by all of us standing up for what we believe in, for what we know is right.

We need to look outside of our four walls, to raise our heads above the parapet, to look globally towards our fellow mankind and step up to be the voice for those that don’t have one.

UK Delegation to G20 YEA Summit 2015

The 2015 G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit took place in Turkey. It was the 5th G20 YEA summit and this years one happened where two great regions come together, Istanbul, the meeting place of Europe and Asia. A chance to share cultures, share business ideas and share learnings.

A Caribbean network for young entrepreneurs 

It is not often you get to travel to Caribbean for work, but in December 2014 that is exactly what I was lucky enough to do!

I was invited by the Commonwealth Secretariat to take part in a 3day visioning workshop they were running in Barbados. The purpose of the workshop was to pull together key youth organisations from across the Caribbean region and Canada, (I have put a full list at the end of this blog), to see if there was a way they could work together to create a strong regional voice for young entrepreneurs. I was invited to share the lessons I have learnt through my work with the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance and the European Confederation for Young Entrepreneurs.

The power of global connections

The theme of this years Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was connections, but can connections work for you? And if so what is the value it can bring to your start-up?

On the Thursday of GEW a, standing room only, event was held at the House of Lords, it was a joint effort between Young Brits and YBI and was a shining example of the advantages that networking and connections can bring when done in the right way. The event focused on the international dimension, it pulled together young entrepreneurs from the UK who have recently attended major summits that have been run across the globe by the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance and the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs as well as over 100 attendees and even the Prime Ministers Enterprise Advisor, Lord Young, asked to attend!

The key question that was asked, was can attendance at international summits for entrepreneurs really add value to your business. Tomasz Letniowski, Founder of Traductio, (attended G20 YEA Summit, Australia 2014), had this to say, “attending these summits offer unparalleled opportunity to network with influential business leaders from all over the world. However it is important to remember that once the connections are made you must look at how you maintain them.” Amy Barker, Founder of Monks & Co, (attended European Confederation Summit Greece 2014), went on to say, “being included in these international events have provided our business with incomparable networking opportunities with some inspirational established businesses. Networking with such advanced entrepreneurs aspire us to push further in our own enterprise and have provided contacts which have helped develop our business strategy’s further.” Nathaniel Peat, Founder of Gennex, (attended G20 YEA Summit, Canada 2010), summed it up well by giving a practical example of the benefit, “these types of summit have assisted the international development of my company directly, meeting like minded people, learning best practices, getting a contact database and establishing business relationships. As a result my company has now expanded into Africa the Caribbean and  is operating with partners in Asia, Europe and soon the USA.”

A few other boarder topics came up a number of time during discussions, and one was superbly articulated by Manuel Pinuela, CTO, Drayson Technologies, (attended G20 YEA Summit, Australia 2014), “It was great to hear across the panel that having the ability and the resilience to take risks and tolerate failure is becoming an important and recurring point to improve the entrepreneurship culture around the world.” Perhaps unsurprisingly the theme of mentoring, access to finance, coordinated support and access to market also came up during the sessions and it was extremely positive hear panellists and audience members mentioning the Start Up Loans scheme that is helping startups get access to finance and the IoDs Young Director Forum that is doing a lot of work around mentoring and support.

Finally, at a time of political sensitivity around Europe, it was extremely positive to have at the event a strong presence from the European entrepreneurship scene and to hear their insights/ thoughts on the UK and Europe. This was best summed up by Dimitris Tsigos, who is not only the President of the European Confederation of  Young Entrepreneurs but is also founder of a tech start up in Athens, Greece and has also recently launched his business in the UK. Dimitris had this to say, “The UK represents an amazing success story of governmental policies for promoting high growth and innovative entrepreneurship, being a true role model for Europe and the World. I was delighted to be involved in discussing the various ways international cooperation of Young Entrepreneurs can help them and their ventures take off, including the amazing opportunities that are possible for all young entrepreneurs if the UK and Europe and continue to work and grow together.“

It was a real pleasure to be involved in such a successful event, one where there was a tangible buzz in the air, and one where the networking went on until the early hours! But let me finish with the words of another one of the great entrepreneurs who kindly took part. Daniel Rajkumar, Founder of Rebuilding Society, (attended G20 YEA Summit, Russia 2013), “participation by members of the House of Lords along with a strong European contingent shows formidable government support for global entrepreneurship. May the inspiration motivate us all to do more & long may these positive initiatives continue.”

Many thanks to everyone who took part and to all those who attended. If you want to be involved in delegations to future international summits please contact me directly on: alex@youngbrits.com

Alex Mitchell, Director, Young Brits

European Youth Entrepreneurship Conference 2014 – Pt1

Earlier this summer Young Brits led a small delegation of young entrepreneurs and individuals within the youth enterprise space to Athens, Greece for the European Youth Entrepreneurship Conference. This is a new initiative created by the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs to help young entrepreneurs from all around the Europe exchange ideas and best practices, set up business ties and make their concerns and policy suggestions heard, especially towards the European Union leadership.

The Conference, kickstarted in Athens at the end of June and it will be held on a biannual basis at the EU member state holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The conference brought together over 100 young entrepreneurs from across Europe to discuss how they can work together and collaborate with other stakeholders in the direction of overcoming the fragmentation barrier and creating the European entrepreneurial identity.

There was an impressive line-up of speakers from Europe, US, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa and the Leadership of the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs also published the “Declaration of Athens” at the conference ― This was a call to action for European young entrepreneurs to promote high growth and innovative entrepreneurship.

The UK sent a delegation of five young entrepreneurs (listed at end of this piece) to the conference who were running businesses in a wide variety of sectors. The delegation included competition winners/ membership ambassadors from the Start Up Loans Company, The Institute of Directors, Launch Pad Labs, the Young Brits Network and the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. The conference was also joined by a representative from the Labour Party’s shadow business team, to hear first hand about some of the innovative projects taking place in Europe within the youth entrepreneurship scheme.

The following blogs in this series are from some of the delegates and i have asked them to share their direct insights from the conference.

The UK delegation:

G20 YEA Summit – Russia

During June myself and my Co-Founder of Young Brits (Glynn Pegler) took a delegation of young entrepreneurs out to Moscow to take part in the Annual Summit for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. The delegation from the UK was kindly supported by Business Wales and bought together a wide mix of individuals from across the UK. A full breakdown of the delegation can be found here.

In addition to the summit itself, we also held a delegation launch event at the Institute of Directors in London, where the Director General of the IoD, Simon Walker, lended his support and congratulated Business Wales on their support of the delegation. On our return from Moscow we were invited to the House of Lords where we held a Q&A with the delegation and also had a drinks reception. We were extremely grateful to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship who kindly hosted us at the House of Lords. During the Q&A the delegation got the chance share their insights and take aways from the summit with senior peers and politicians as well as business figures, including the Shadow Minster for Small Business and Senior Directors from Accenture and Ernst & Young (who are also G20 YEA knowledge Partners).

I firstly wanted to share unique video with you. This was pulled together, with the support of Business Wales, at the summit and includes interviews with a number of the UK delegates and it will really help you get a feel for the summit. The video can be found here, I really hope you enjoy it.

Secondly, I wanted to share with you two  posts we did for BusinessZone re this summit, which were written by delegates from the UK delegation and were they shared their thoughts and experiences from the summit. The first of these posts can be found here and the second one can be found here.

We are now in the planning stages for the G20 YEA summit for 2014 and if you would like to be involved or support the delegation please do get in touch here.

G20 YEA Mexico Pt 5

Our fifth blog gives a real insight into the experiences and conversations in and around the summit. It is written by the Lead Delegate in the UK delegation to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit; Glynn Pegler, who is CEO of Culture Group, a communications company he founded when he was 15 and he is the co-founder of Young Brits Network.

— FROM ONE CULTURE TO ANOTHER —

Arriving in Mexico City was an experience from the outset. “There’s ‘general time’ and then there’s ‘Mexican time’.” – was the opening phrase our taxi driver greeted us with. What he meant by this was that once you’re in the Mexican traffic, you’re at the mercy of a road system where a journey that would normally be a 20 minutes can easily take up to 4 hours.

Symptomatic, perhaps, of a city thats’ the world’s second largest with some 21 million inhabitants. There are some 400 more this week, as entrepreneurs from around the world, myself included, descend on the city as part of the planning for the G20 Mexico Summit.

I am here to learn. To share best practice. To find out what best practice is. To relate the experiences of entrepreneurs in the UK with those from the rest of the globe and to try to make sense of the regulatory and economic differences to create a set of recommendations that will form a communique presented to the G20 leaders to inform their discussions. Its an incredible opportunity to be a part of shaping a new global culture. The learning began the moment I stepped off the 11 hour flight.

Passing through inner-city Mexico lived up to some stereotypes. Gun-fire, police chases and chaos a-plenty. But seeing past that initial commotion – which is limited to certain areas and is in every other major city in the world – I was given the warmest of welcomes as Paco, Federico and Carlos, our chaperones for the trip, greeted us in the foyer of our hotel with a level of pride for their country that was infectious.

Respectively they are each fantastic examples of young entrepreneurial minds struggling with a lack of support around them. Paco, 26, is establishing his own English Language School and its a competitive market. His biggest challenge is how to stand out amongst the competition and to do this with no guidance provided. Federico, 23, is studying Agriculture and wants to improve people’s lives in some way through contributing to enhancing the country’s infrastructure. Carlos, 20, is studying entrepreneurship at Tec Santa Fe, the venue for some of our G20 discussions, and has aspirations to design user experience interfaces for video games. In the meantime he’s not settling for academia on its own and is taking on a frozen yoghurt franchise to launch in Mexico City with niche products for the diabetic market.  

The reason this entrepreneurs’ summit works and is so successful is that no matter where you are in the world, all entrepreneurs encounter the same challenges; albeit to varying degrees. Each year there are new initiatives to learn from, enhance and to develop or scrap. The daily agendas at these summits are always intense. 6:00am starts and 11:00pm finishes. So whenever there’s a bit of downtime its an opportunity to jump at the chance to learn more about a different culture. Federico, Paco and Carlos become our tour guides and their passion for showing us all things Mexican is unwavering. Its time to see some of the city by gondola, or trajinera as they are known. A major tourist experience, yes, but one that was an unmissable opportunity to bond with others on the trip and learn more about what they want to achieve and the challenges they face.

It turned into a tequila lunch; with a supporting role from some rice, beef and tacos as we were serenaded by a traditional Mexican band Mariachi. If this had been al-fresco dining in the UK it would be the sort of experience where you’d have politely told them to go away. Here, it was the perfect accompaniment. Lunch was held huddled round a table on the tin roof-covered gondola, in the company of Russians, Australians, Mexicans, Indians and South Africans, with businesses ranging from software development, to construction of mining communities. International business opportunities were soon being instigated as different parties around the table with enterprises that on first glance seemed completely unrelated, found ways to work together to support supply chains and compliment each others work. If only Governments could work like that? But then, that’s what the G20 entrepreneurs’ summit is here to assist. The local tradespeople were themselves as opportunistic as they were entrepreneurial – silver and fabric merchants clambering aboard our gondola and practising their sales patter..

One or two gondola collisions and a few beers later (much of the tequila had been drunk, straight, in half-pint measures by the lead singer of the Mariachi) and we were back on dry land and witnessing a ceremonial display of 5 mexicans on a pole some 50 feet into the sky, with 4 of them hanging precariously by their feet and spinning around the pole. As you do.

Having paid to use a toilet, we returned to the taxi area, where the shock of seeing the same convoy of cabs waiting to pick us up as had dropped us off some hours earlier started to provide an indication of the competitiveness of some parts of this economy. Our trade with them was modest yet significant enough that they were prepared to be at our service all day so as not to lose out to other drivers. In the UK they would have earnt far more by filling their downtime in between with other jobs, but here, that isn’t always possible. 

Then it was onto the heart of the city to Coyoacan, a hangout for young creatives. We were lucky enough to witness a wedding taking place on the steps of Coyoacan Church and then visited a patisserie which was the epitome of customer servicing excellence. A turnstile on the way in, shelves of beautifully laid out cakes and breads from floor to ceiling; a central servicing area to distribute small trays and tongs for self service; a packaging area for your selection when you’d made it; a ticket area to issue you with a price and receipt before you reached a till, and finally a till-point area in the form of a pay booth, before exiting via another turnstile which counted you out. The owners knew how many people passed through their doors each day, how long they spent in the shop, maximised their display space to tempt you with as many things as possible, minimised their overheads by implementing self service, and encouraged you to buy by having the barrier of a turnstile that you needed to go via the till-point to exit via. Smart stuff.

That anecdote of my hanging around in bakeries aside, my first day in Mexico was a fascinating insight into another economy. Being shown around by natives who are themselves entrepreneurs was a factor that acutely enhanced the observations above and meant that the conversations throughout the day were filled with peer to peer discussions of how we could support each other.

In the evening, it was onto the official reception party for the international delegations, being held at the Royal Palace of Chapultepec. Here, it was time for entrepreneurs to mingle with heads of governments and policy makers from around the world as I found myself engaged in conversations on promoting youth enterprise in South Africa, followed by one with the Global Head of Entrepreneurship from Ernst and Young about what incentives could I suggest be put in place to encourage greater numbers of entrepreneurs to start-up.

The fact remains, entrepreneurship is the single biggest driver of job creation in the worldwide economy and the entrepreneurship summit ahead of the G20 leaders gathering is a powerful way to influence world policy and create significant social change.

The Mexican’s may need to work on their tourism stap-line though. Over dinner we were told “For every 100 people who come to Mexico, 98 come back.” Presumably they mean for a second visit. I know I will be.

Follow Glynn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GlynnPegler 

To find out what happened in Mexico please be sure to follow the following on twitter: 

www.twitter.com/G20_YEA 
www.twitter.com/G20YES 
www.twitter.com/YoungBrits

 

G20 YEA Mexico pt4

This blog post is by Helen Gale, Director of Research and Policy at Prince’s Youth Business International and Co-President of the UK within the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (G20YEA).

 

So, the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (G20YES) continues, and we’ve reached a milestone: the signing of our communiqué. Communiqués are the currency of global governance and summitry. They compile a set of recommendations for future change and provide accountability for implementing action. 

 

Tomorrow the G20YEA will present our communiqué to the President of Mexico. We are privileged to have a one-hour audience with him. In less than two weeks, he will host the leaders of the other 19 G20 members. Our goal is for them to recognise the critical role of youth entrepreneurship in reinvigorating global growth and stability, and to commit to work together with G20YEA so that young entrepreneurs can play their part as the architects of the 21st century. 

 

It was developed directly out of the Summit sessions with the 400+ young entrepreneurs who joined us in Mexico City this week. The focus areas we call on governments for action are:

 

–  Access to funding

–  Integrating financial and non-financial support – training, mentoring, coaching

–  Minimise regulatory and tax barriers

–  Building a collaborative enterprise environment

–  Fostering an entrepreneurship culture through the education system

 

We’ll keep an eye on the level of commitment from G20 governments. They meet on 18-19 June. Yet the real work starts when we all go home – turning the recommendations into locally relevant policies and actions. It’s a very different story tying to stimulate youth entrepreneurship in Russia, where the private sector is still nascent, compared with India where the key issue is job creation, or in more mature markets where access to finance is at worryingly low levels. In the UK, we can celebrate the launch of the government’s new Youth Investment Fund, but we keep hearing the problem that the youth entrepreneurship support sector is fragmented. That’s why both YBI and Young Brits are behind the foundation of the National Youth Enterprise Working Group, bringing together a range of young entrepreneur support organisations and providing a leading voice for national youth enterprise support. If we take the recommendations from the G20YEA communiqué, the Youth Investment Fund (like YBI) emphasises mentoring alongside finance – cue “integrated support” – and both Young Brits and YBI work as networks – cue the “collaborative” environment. Yet it only takes a cursory look at current unemployment, lending and insolvency figures to show we still have our work cut out… Needless to say, we are looking forward to our meeting with President Calderon.

 

To keep updated live on what is happening in Mexico please be sure to follow the following on twitter:

www.twitter.com/G20_YEA 

www.twitter.com/G20YES 

www.twitter.com/YouthBizInt 

www.twitter.com/YoungBrits

 

G20 YEA Summit Mexico pt3

Our third blog is split into two sections. The first part is written by one of the UK delegates to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit; Chris Knell, who is a financial management change agent and the Vice-Chairman of the IoD Young Directors Forum. The second part is from myself.

 

———-

 

It is OUR responsibility to build a fair and prosperous world.

 

I am Chris Knell, and I am one of the entrepreneurs representing the UK in Mexico. The G20YES is the summit that brings together Young Entrepreneurs from across the globe to form a ‘mastermind’ because together we can be the melting pot of ideas and perspectives required to accomplish the task at hand.

 

Sunday 3rd June 2012 saw the first full day of the G20YES summit in Mexico City. After opening statements and a ceremony salute to our Mexican hosts the delegates split into two working groups;

–  Overcoming barriers of taxation and regulation

–  Access to funding for young entrepreneurs, and

 

I participated in the working group on overcoming barriers, and further down Alex will cover the second session.

 

In partnership with delegates from Australia, India, Mexico, Russia and the United Kingdom, represented by Glynn Pegler; I presented our response to the question, What role do tax incentives play in promoting a young entrepreneur culture?

 

My conclusion was that right now they don’t. Young Entrepreneurs have the passion and enthusiasm to start their own business – tax incentives don’t change that. However tax incentives do have the potential to reduce the barriers and de-risk the start-up process, which will change the young entrepreneur culture over time.

 

We also went further to consider what sort of tax incentives we felt would be most effective. We agreed upon payroll tax incentives and capital/stamp duty incentives to encourage job creation and investment in the future of our companies.

 

Glynn gave the excellent suggestion of all G20 Governments committing to share best practice, provide a one stop shop for Startups & ensure quick & timely access to decisions. Really practical thoughts that could create real impact.

 

Importantly the G20YES delegates have shown they are the change agents, as opposed to spectators who complain from the sidelines, but take no action to affect change.

 

So I will leave you with this, what are YOU going to do to help build that fair and prosperous world: Please feel free to contact me here email@chrisknell.co.uk and I will now let Alex cover the second session.

 

———-

 

 

The second session focused on funding and finance for start up and growing businesses. I gave a speech at the start of the session and then took part on a panel. The session covered everything from Bank loans and VC to angel investment and the 3 f’s (family, friends and fools!).

 

A couple of very quick stand out points, getting funding is tough, but there are significant movements in none traditional access to finance, crowd source funding being a great example. Businesses however need to understand that in all fund raising there is the issue of risk, be that real or perceived. Banks are risk adverse and other funding source do look at the risk exposure of propositions put in front of them. So how do entrepreneurs deal with this? There was a real feeling from the panel that a key part is to try and get support/ engagement from individuals who have experience within this the finance and funding sector. Being able to go into meetings with potential funders with someone who speaks their language will really help reduce the perceived risk of the business/ proposition.

 

But how do you get this support? Well, you can pay for it, but if you don’t have money to pay for this what can you do?

 

The panel picked up on three ways of doing this:

–  Provide a degree of equity in the business, this will also help on long term engagement within the company, they will have ‘skin in the game’

–  Source a mentor for you/ the business who can help provide informal advice/ support in this area

–  Create a business/ culture within your company that will attract the right skill sets to be a part of your journey

 

The panelists had real experience of doing all of the above and I personally felt the third point was that was really well made and one that you don’t often hear.

 

I also covered the UKs excellent work on the Youth Investment Fund, which was championed by Virgin Media Pioneers and developed by the National Youth Enterprise Working Group. This is an extremely positive scheme that brings together funding as well as a wider package of support pulling together mentoring, business engagement and business intelligence. This is a great example of best practice and something that could create real impact. If done correctly it will showcase what collaborative efforts can do. The National Youth Enterprise Working Group got the scheme in the budget and will be a major player going forward.

 

Tomorrow the summit will be looking at creating the right culture and ecosystem that both encourages and supports entrepreneurship at national levels.

 

To keep updated live on what is happening in Mexico please be sure to follow the following on twitter:

www.twitter.com/G20_YEA

www.twitter.com/G20YES 

www.twitter.com/YoungBrits 

G20 YEA Mexico pt2

Before I get on to Day two, I wanted to tell a bit out the end of day one… We circled Mexico City airport for almost 2hours waiting to land as the runway was flooded… We then had a 2hour taxi ride to the hotel (should have taken 30mins!). I ended up getting to bed at 3am after finishing my last blog and writing up notes ready for day two. Day two started at 4hours later with a strong coffee! 

 

The formal agenda for Day two is for the country President and Sherpa meetings (a pic of the meeting is above) and kicked off with a session hosted by one of the YES knowledge partners, Ernst & Young. They reaffirmed their commitment to our mission and declared that they want to make us famous globally.

 

“This has to happen back in our home countries, throughout the 361 days per year when we are not all gathered together at our annual Summit”, commented Helen Gale, UK Co-President and YBI Research & Policy Director. “The key is to understand, to evidence and to communicate what it is that is specific about supporting young entrepreneurs specifically. This is how we will build our credibility and our purpose to government and business leaders worldwide”, she continued.

 

We then heard from the head of the ITESM Santa Fe campus.  They have a business incubator at the campus and their youngest entrepreneur in the incubator is 7years old…

 

Next up was Thomas Wissing from the International Labour Organsiation, who was giving some fascinating global perspectives on labour markets and the very real issue of global youth unemployment and the knock on effect this will have to business competitiveness and economic growth.

 

Following Thomas was Dr John Kirton, from the G20/ G8 Research Group who was covering the challenges facing our societies within the groupings. He also touched on some of the recent comments regarding if the G20 has really had any effect since the ‘glory days of global crisis in 2008/ 09 when global action was taken’. The feeling was very much so, but it has broadened out and there is a need to try and ensure governments commitment to their on camera commitments at the summits.

 

The day continued with discussions around the possibility of making 2015 the international year of entrepreneurship, then concluded with workshops and meeting around the summit communiqué development. I can’t tell you anything more about this at present, you will have to wait until it is signed and launch later in the week… 

 

Today I was stuck by the conversations that we had a group level around the need for real collaboration, which is one of the reason why I co-founded Young Brits network. Also the sharing of data and best practice at a national and international level and how this is key to creating impact, providing influence and if done so will make the real change for good at a global level for young entrepreneurs.

 

The main summit kicks off tomorrow morning, but for now I will leave you with two positive quotes. The first is from Dr John Kirton, from the G20/ G8 Research Group “The G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit has to become the institutional equal to the B20” and the second is from Maria Pinelli, Global Vice Chair of Strategic Growth markets at Ernst & Young ‘You need to be famous. Everyone needs to know about you and the work you are doing’

 

To keep updated live on what is happening in Mexico please be sure to follow the following on twitter:

www.twitter.com/G20_YEA 

www.twitter.com/G20YES 

www.twitter.com/YoungBrits

 

G20 YEA Mexico Pt1

Back again…!

Why do I say that, well I wanted to start by saying a big thanks to Dan Martin and Businesszone, they have been hugely supportive of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (G20YEA)and I have been writing blogs from different summits for almost two years now.  The Alliance has been doing great things, but myself and Dan have always wanted to share this work with others and ensure it has the widest possible impact and engagement. So a big thank you from me and from the Alliance.

Now onwards and upwards. Or sideways and slightly downwards, if my global geography serves me correctly regarding where Mexico is in relation to the UK…

I write this from somewhere over the Atlantic… heading away from London and the UK on the Queens Jubilee weekend. I am a bit of a fan for the Queen and I think 60years of service to the country is truly remarkable, so I am actually quite sad to not be there for the Diamond Jubilee, not least so because of the 4 days weekend! However instead of street parties and pimms, concerts and pageantry I will be representing the UK at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit in Mexico. Something that is only two years old, but I hope will still be going strong in 60 years.

Now, a quick history lesson on the Alliance. It was born out of the G20 Entrepreneurs Summit, that was held exactly 2 years ago in Toronto, Canada in June of 2010. Since then we have been to South Korea and France, now it is Mexico. The Summits we have held have been attended by over 1,000 young entrepreneurs from every nation within the G20. On a global level the Alliance is now represented at a national level within every G20 Nation (19 + the EU), it has had official recognition at all the recent G20 Leaders summits, including the upcoming one in Mexico and the Alliance communiqué has been officially handed over to the G20 leaders.

The last two years has been a real journey, and from a UK stand point has only been possible with the support of organisations like The IoDPrinces’ Youth Business InternationalYoung EnterpriseVirgin Media PioneersUnLtd,Shell LiveWIREYoung Brits and Princes Trust. All these organisations have been instrumental in helping to drive the G20 YEA in the UK forward, ensuring that the UKs delegations to the Summits are made up of entrepreneurs from across the UK and representing all backgrounds and sectors.

On Wednesday (30th May), we held a reception at the IoD in London for past current and (hopefully some) future UK delegation members. The event was also the launch of theYoung Brits Network, a Social Enterprise dedicated to furthering the global opportunities for Britain’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders. Young Brits is also the Co-Lead in the UK for the G20YEA, alongside Princes Youth Business International. In addition to the entrepreneurs, the reception and launch was also attended by senior business people interested in this space, government officials wanting to support the work of the G20 YEA and Young Brits, angle investors keen to help with funding and members of the media. Over 80 people we able to make the event and it was addressed by Baroness Wilcox, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 

I am aiming to write a blog daily from Mexico and I will get input from members of the UK delegation as well as other delegates. I will also include relevant links to reports we will be launching out in Mexico, these will focus on over coming barriers, funding and creating entrepreneurial ecosystems. But to keep updated live on what is happening in Mexico please be sure to follow the following on twitter:

www.twitter.com/G20_YEA 
www.twitter.com/G20YES 
www.twitter.com/YoungBrits 

You can also follow me here: www.twitter.com/AlexDMitchell

Entrepreneurs at the G20 in Mexico

Almost exactly two years ago to the day the idea of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (G20YEA) was born. The idea was a big one, to bring together young entrepreneurs and the organisations that support them and provide a collective voice to champion young entrepreneurs from around the globe.

Two years later and the G20YEA is represented at a national level within all the G20 member nations, it is an officially recognised body within the G20 movement and its communiqués have been handed onto the G20 Leaders meetings. In addition to this it has pulled together major summits before every G20 Leaders meeting, with over 800 entrepreneurs from all the nations within the G20 taking part and IoD Young Director Forum members have been a key part of every official delegation from the UK to these summits.

So the initial idea was a big one and you could say ‘job done’, but this is just the start… Entrepreneurs and SMEs are the bedrock of our economy, they are the job, wealth and skills creators, we need to support them in anyway we can going forward, now more so than ever.

The IoD has been involved in the movement from the start and will continue to work closely with Prince’s Youth Business International and the Young Brits Network in supporting the G20YEA in the UK going forward.

I will be blogging about the outcomes of the Summit on my return, but in the mean time to find out more about the G20YEA visit: www.g20yea.com and follow what is happening at the G20 Summit in Mexico here:

www.twitter.com/G20YES
www.twitter.com/G20_YEA

I will leave you with a quote from Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, inviting the G20YEA to Mexico and who will be welcoming the Alliance to Mexico City in early June:

“It is always a pleasure to speak to young entrepreneurs like yourselves, who are the architects of the 21st Century. The energy, inspiration and the strength that will transform the world into the place we all seek are in your hands… I invite you to continue your hard work to become precisely that leadership group that will transform the world and develop a better future for all. In Mexico we await you with open arms.”

An entrepreneurial voice at the G20

The heads of states of the G20 countries meet biannually at the G20 Leaders Summit. The 2010 G20 Summit is the fourth summit of the Group of Twenty Major Economies and it took place in Toronto, Canada on June 26–27, 2010.

The Toronto Summit was much like any other, security was high, protesters were making their voice heard, there were lots of friendly chats and hand shakes on camera and heavy negotiations behind the scenes. However there was one major difference. For the first time ever at a G20 summit the voice of the young entrepreneur was being heard and listened to.

The IoD and Enterprise UK lead a delegation of three highly successful and award winning UK entrepreneurs to the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (G20YES). The three-day summit provided a unique forum for young entrepreneurs (ages 20-45) and those organisations representing entrepreneurs, from G20 countries to meet, exchange ideas and to establish international networks and partnerships that will drive sustainable global economic growth.

The aim of the two-day Summit was to impact the G20 by presenting a declaration representing the voice of all 20 countries to maximise the economic potential of young entrepreneurs in their respective economies. The Summit was recognised by the Canadian federal government as an official G20 event, one of only three official events recognised. The G20YES communiqué, containing the declarations, was presented to those leading discussion at the B20 and in turn to the G20 Leaders.

So, what was the UK’s role? UK was there to help develop the recommendations and ensure that our own experiences and contribution to youth entrepreneurship could be recognised. We regarded the Summit as a great opportunity to secure the role of youth entrepreneurship in the rebuilding of our economy and wanted to ensure that the UK’s leadership role was at the heart of future international action.

Each participating country brought a President and Lead Sherpa to do the formal work of negotiating the communiqué, and a delegation of young entrepreneurs.  The UK’s delegation included a President (myself), a Lead Sherpa (Peter Grigg, Head of Policy and Research at Enterprise UK) and three young entrepreneurs:

  1. 1.Nathaniel Peat, the entrepreneur behind award winning business, The Safety Box. Nathananiel was the winner of the 2009 Enterprising Young Brits competition and an Enterprise UK ambassador. In 2009 he appeared on the BBC’s The Last Millionaire.

  2. 2.Waqas Baggia, is an award winning entrepreneur and co-founder of Kreative Iron, a digital media company based in the West Midlands that provides graphics & web design, animation, and game development.

  3. 3.Philip Kerr, the Managing Director of Innovas Consulting Ltd – a research company that helps national and regional government formulate and evaluate policy. Their product Enterprise Catalyst provides an innovative way to evaluate the impact of enterprise education. Philip is an Enterprise UK ambassador in the North West.

Was it a success? The simple answer is a resounding Yes. The young entrepreneurs and organisations that support them were able to agree on a pragmatic set of actions for G20 countries to implement that will support our future economies. The summit also highlighted the critical role that entrepreneurs play in our economies round the world, from job creation to solving some of the toughest challengers facing mankind. You can view the full communiqué by click here.