Young entrepreneurs call for action against rising youth unemployment

Communiqué addressed to G20 leaders

Barbara McLean-Stollery, owner and president of Executive Airways Grooming Services, in Calgary.
Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

CALGARY – A delegation of young Canadian business leaders are among 400 young entrepreneurs calling on G20 leaders to reduce youth unemployment and increase growth and productivity by promoting youth entrepreneurship and investment in small to medium-sized enterprises.

The Canadian leaders were representatives of Futurpreneur Canada (formerly the Canadian Youth Business Foundation) who recently met in Australia at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance summit.

Barbara McLean-Stollery, president and owner of Executive Airways Grooming Services in Calgary, who was one of the 13 Canadian representatives, said a communiqué was created to present to the G20 leaders to get youth entrepreneurship on their radar as a viable option for youth unemployment and economic growth.

“Youth unemployment is at a high,” said the 35-year-old McLean-Stollery, whose company is a corporate commercial aircraft detailing enterprise that services four airports in Alberta including the Calgary International Airport and the Springbank Airport. It has 35 full-time employees.

“It has been recognized as an area of ‘what are we going to do’ and young entrepreneurs think that entrepreneurship is a viable option for government and policy makers to be looking at in order to bring those numbers down.”

In June, youth (aged 15 to 24) unemployment was 13.4 per cent in Canada while youth employment was down 50,000 positions from a year ago. Youth unemployment in Alberta was 10.1 per cent, which was up from 9.8 per cent a year ago.

In comparison, the overall unemployment rate in Alberta was 4.9 per cent while it was 7.1 per cent across the country.

According to Statistics Canada, the highest youth unemployment rate in the country was 20.7 per cent in October 1982 and 17.0 per cent in Alberta in May 1983.

The G20 leaders Summit will be held in Brisbane, Australia in November.

The young leaders’ objective is to reduce unemployment worldwide 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 summit 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.

Futurpreneur Canada says that 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 statistics, 73 million youth are currently unemployed. The global youth unemployment rate was 12.6 per cent in 2013 and is projected to rise to 12.8 per cent by 2018.

In Canada, about 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, chief executive of Futurpreneur Canada and co-president of the 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.”

In May, 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.”


Calgary Herald | Calgary, Alberta