The 2020 G20YEA young entrepreneurship summit was a great experience and a valuable opportunity to grow my business, Benjamin David Group.

This year’s summit was held in Saudi Arabia, but, given COVID-19, it wasn’t possible to hold the event face-to-face. That didn’t matter, because our Saudi hosts and official G20 YEA Saudi members stepped in and made the event possible by helping us get connected online, and Futurpreneur-led training and trade activities for the Canadian delegation were also held through Zoom.

Before I get into the specifics of the event, I just want to mention that opportunities like this one are available to anyone, but it is important to chase them. To be part of the Canadian delegation, there’s a process to follow with Futurpreneur, the official Canadian member of the G20YEA and leader of our delegation, and an application to submit. I think it’s important to be willing to participate in these things and push ourselves forward on our own entrepreneurial paths.

My journey at the 2020 G20YEA was incredible. I was able to network with young entrepreneurs from different countries and hear keynotes from speakers who are esteemed in their fields. The keynotes were an excellent beginning to the days and gave us practical lessons from industry leaders.

However, I most enjoyed the networking that took place afterwards with the other delegates. Having such a diverse group of entrepreneurs is what really made the 2020 G20YEA special for me. Being able to connect with these people not only opened my business up to new opportunities, but also exposed me to what entrepreneurship looks like globally. Access to both of these incredible opportunities made the journey a great experience overall, despite the complications that the 2020 landscape brought.

My biggest takeaways from the event came from being able to connect and meet with different trade commissioners, who gave us invaluable resources to understand how to do business in different countries. At the same time, we had several opportunities to network amongst ourselves, which opened up a promising business opportunity with another Canadian delegate, Abdaal Mazhar Shafi, partner at Quantum Lead. Just by sharing our industry, specialty and business focus, we were able to connect and start discussing how to work together. Now we are partnering with Quantum Lead to our customers’ benefit by introducing them to the other organization’s dynamic range of services. Our respective businesses also benefit from the chance to cross-sell and the expanded opportunities for operation and growth.

Having the opportunity to connect with another Canadian delegate and understand their focus outside of Canada was invaluable on its own.  But also learning from the trade commissioners themselves about how to explore new markets like the United States really opened my mind about clarifying our goals and better understanding what it takes to expand our service offerings outside of Canada. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of the market as well as a clear plan for how to access it. Through the different touch points and sessions at the event, this business goal became clearer and more achievable.

My other impression of the event was the significant diversity of our delegation. I was very pleased to see so many cultures, backgrounds and strong women making up this year’s delegation. I truly believe that the more diverse forums are, the more holistic the solutions that come from those discussions are, because of the different perspectives seated at the same table.

I’m looking forward to participating at the next summit in Italy and taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to keep expanding my network and business through the G20YEA in whatever form it may take.

For any future aspiring Canadian delegates, my advice is to come with a giving mentality: The more doors you are willing to open for others, the more doors could be opened for you and your business. As a young entrepreneur I have come to realize that running a business depends a lot on excelling and growing in the art of connecting with others. The G20YEA is a great opportunity to not only expand your network, but to better understand the international landscape.

The 2021 G20 YEA, hosted by Italy, will take place October 5-8, 2021. Apply now.

Caren Carrasco is the co-founder of Benjamin David Group.

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