Canada’s young entrepreneurs urge G20 leaders to take action against youth unemployment

July 23, 2014, Sydney, Australia – A delegation of young Canadian business leaders and representatives of Futurpreneur Canada (formerly the Canadian Youth Business Foundation) are among 400 young entrepreneurs from G20 countries calling upon G20 leaders preparing for this November’sG20 Summit in Brisbane to reduce youth unemployment and increase growth and productivity by promoting youth entrepreneurship and investing in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The young leaders’ objective is to reduce unemployment below 10 per cent by 2030 and promote youth entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment in the post-2015 United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (YEA), a network of young entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them, held its fifth annual Summit in Sydney from July 18-22. Thesummit communiqué calls on G20 leaders and others to focus on entrepreneurship and implement policies, legislation and incentives to better support young entrepreneurs, start-ups and sustainable high-growth SMEs and also enhance private sector-led growth. It asks G20 leaders to commit to eight specific actions to help build a stronger global entrepreneurship ecosystem:

  1. Help financial institutions develop a way to provide affordable financing to SMEs and develop regulations to accommodate new and innovative forms of financing such as crowd-sourcing.
  2. Promote close cooperation and better pathways between the business and education sectors.
  3. Promote experiential entrepreneurship education in all levels of the education system.
  4. Implement legislation that supports the commercialization of innovation and new technology.
  5. Reduce regulatory and tax burden on new companies and with respect to labour.
  6. Create a G20 multilateral start-up visa to make it easier for entrepreneurs to travel and conduct cross-border business and to increase labour mobility.
  7. Ensure that government procurement processes are made more open to small businesses owned by young entrepreneurs.
  8. Support the United Nations and ensure there is a major goal in the UN post-2015 development agenda on youth employment and entrepreneurship, especially for young women.

Globally, there are 1.8 billion young people, of which 90 per cent live in developing countries and two thirds of those are underemployed. According to the latest International Labour Organization (ILO) statistics, 73 million youth are currently unemployed, accounting for more than 50 per cent of youth unemployment in many countries. In Canada, approximately 13 per cent of 6.8 million people aged 15–29 are not working, in education, or in training.

“In Canada, high levels of youth unemployment, combined with skills shortages and the imminent retirement of the majority of our small business owners, is one of our greatest economic challenges,” said Julia Deans, CEO, Futurpreneur Canada and Co-President, G20 YEA Summit Canadian delegation. “Youth entrepreneurs are the driving force in our economy and can help address these and other economic challenges by starting their own businesses and succeeding retiring business owners, creating jobs and revenues and robust, sustainable growth.”

During the G20 YEA summit, delegates developed an action plan to fight youth unemployment, containing specific actions that every country delegation has committed to implement in order to improve their entrepreneurship ecosystem and create more high growth SMEs. Co-published with the G20 YEA communiqué were two powerful new reports providing insights and entrepreneurship best practices to assist all G20 stakeholders: Accenture’s The promise of digital entrepreneurs: Creating 10 million youth jobs in the G20 countries; and EY’s Avoiding a lost generation: Ten key recommendations to support youth entrepreneurship across the G20 (Part 2)

Canada’s young entrepreneurs are already working at home to boost youth innovation and enterprise to respond to youth unemployment. In May 2014, more than 1,000 Canadian entrepreneurs and leaders participated in Futurpreneur Canada’s Action Entrepreneurship: Growing Young Enterprise initiative. The group will soon release a national action plan to advance youth entrepreneurship in Canada.

“Futurpreneur Canada’s forthcoming youth entrepreneurship action plan was developed in consultation with young entrepreneurs and sector stakeholders to focus us all on the infrastructure and impetus we need to fuel young enterprise and drive the Canadian economy,” said Deans. “We look forward to working with our partners to ensure Canada has the critical support it needs to implement the key action areas identified in the G20 YEA summit communiqué.”


Futurpreneur Canada

Futurpreneur Canada (formerly the Canadian Youth Business Foundation or CYBF) has been fuelling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for nearly two decades. We are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Our internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,800 volunteer mentors.

Futurpreneur Canada is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, the Canadian member of The Prince’s Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Facebook: Futurpreneur Twitter: @Futurpreneur 

G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (G20 YEA)
The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20 YEA) is a collective of leading entrepreneurship NGOs representing over 500,000 young entrepreneurs across G20 countries and the European Union. The G20 YEA members have already created an estimated 10 million jobs. G20 YEA is building on partnerships and collaboration with governmental, business and civil society stakeholders such as the OECD, ILO, UN Millennium Campaign, B20, Y20, EY, Accenture and all official G20 engagement groups. In 2014 over 400 young entrepreneurs and leaders from all G20 countries and 14 observer nations, selected to represent the voice of the world’s future business leaders, attended the G20 YEA Summit in Sydney.

G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit, Sydney, Australia The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit in Sydney, Australia, is a gathering of young entrepreneurs aged 18-40 and entrepreneurship-focused organizations from the G20 countries. Hosted by The Centre for Entrepreneurship, it provides valuable input to government leaders to assist in driving sustainable global economic growth, exchange ideas and to foster international partnerships and collaboration. The G20 YEA Summit is an official program of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance.

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Futurpreneur Canada and Canadian Delegation Media contact:

Dorenda McNeil
416-961-5898 ext. 216 or