The Opening Sessions!
On Friday I experienced my first day in a room with some of the brightest minds in the world, who are focused on creating an improved global economic, political, social and environmental ecosystem for young entrepreneurs. They say that in order to succeed in business then it is important to always be the least intelligent person in the room. Well if that is true then I am looking forward to some amazing success very soon!
One word… WOW. The G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, and now here in Mexico city for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit, is hands down the most amazing experience of my life to date. I don’t think there is a word in the English language that is capable of capturing the energy and potential in this movement (perhaps I’ll find one from the 15 or more languages represented here), however I’ll try to find a few…
The list could go on, but I’m going to get into covering some of the amazing discussions at the meetings of the Presidents and Sherpas, which I was luckily given a seat at.
The day started with Ernst and Young, one of the two major partners. Who would have thought that a firm like EY could be so inspiring for youth entrepreneurship?? Maria Pinelli truly is championing this cause around the world. She was announced the global vice chair for strategic growth markets in 2011, and her involvement with G20 YEA is crucial.
The major topic for the talk was the importance of collecting reliable data about entrepreneurs. Reliable, statistically significant and conclusive data is extremely powerful, and absolutely imperative in validating the G20YEA agenda. Ernst and Young (EY) have already, and will continue to, survey the global youth entrepreneurial community in order to generate data that the G20YEA members can present to both the private and public sector. This data will enable the movement to create significant change.
Now data may not be the most inspiring topic, however the vision for the G20YEA that Maria shared definitely is! It is the most succinct and poignant explanation I have heard so far. She wants us to get famous, because we are the most important group for securing the future of innovation, job creation, and economic growth”. Brilliant.
So the other topic that was covered in the EY session was the different stages of small business, and their relative effect on job creation. Start ups hire fewer people, however there are a greater number of them. High growth businesses employ far more people, however there are far fewer of them. The public sector contributes very little to job creation, whereas Entrepreneurs globally create 16% job growth on average, even through the GFC!
The next session invlolved a talk from Thomas Wissing from the International Labour Organisation (a key partner of G20). Thomas continued on the theme of the importance of young entrepreneurs for solving the global youth unemployment problem. Not only is becoming an entrepreneur a viable career option for young people, as shown in the statistic above, entrepreneurship is responsible for creating employment opportunities. Thomas also highlighted the need for innovative financial products to fund young entrepreneurs, as access to capital is a crucial issue we face, and one of the major issues being addressed this year.
Thomas was followed by Dr John Kurtin from the G20 research group. Founded in 1999 this is the primary Independant body that keeps the G20 political and financial leaders accountable on implementation of the conclusions from the summit. John confirmed that the G20 YES conclusions are a key part of the Official G20 report produced for all leaders, in particular President Calderon of Mexico.
In fact our G20YES is so important to the G20 that president Calderon is receiving the entire summit’s delegations, presidents and sherpas at his home on the 5th June so we can present our communique to the G20 leaders prior to them convening in Los Cabos in 2 weeks. The Mexican president has committed to championing our communique at the summit, and get this.. I have been offered one of the 5 opportunities to ask the The President a question on behalf of our movement, in front of the entire Audience. Australia has a voice!
Dr John Kurtin went on to propose some goals for the G20YES in order to guarantee it’s ongoing significance in the G20 leader’s program:
1. The G20 needs to recognise the value of youth entrepreneurship in the official communique
2. Meet with more G20 leaders than just the host. Always meet with Prime Minister/President of the host country prior to the G20 to ensure G20YES is significant and championed.
3. Meet with ministers for labour and employment
4. Assess our own impact on the G20. Are our communiques actually implemented?
5. Continual improvement of the G20YEA institution
The next session was a breakout workshop with around 8 other presidents and Sherpas, to address the vision of G20YEA in relation to the 5 fundamental areas we can create change.
1. Education and training
3. Funding access
4. Coordinated support
5. Taxation and regulation
The topic which I workshopped was culture. What is the wider cultural understanding of entrepreneurship? What is entrepreneurial culture? We were given a question… Imagine it is now 2017 and we are looking back at the last 5 years. What is one clear objective we have achieved with regards to culture and the G20YEA goals? Our discussion involved the following:
– In all countries there is a general lack of understanding of what a real entrepreneur is. Either people think we are bums that don’t want to work the regular 9-5. That we sit at home and don’t do anything. Or we are like Richard Branson. We have the midas touch, and no regular person could ever achieve such success. Therefore there is no general desire in wider culture to become an entrepreneur.
– So how do we fix this over the next 5 years? We need to humanise and make real the concept of being an entrepreneur. We take aspirational and inspirational entrepreneurs and champion them through the education system, mass media, and to the government. What kind of entrepreneur is that? Someone that has a company worth around $1-$2m, and perhaps has exited that company. Someone that has achieved something that anyone else could also, so through those three channels we change the wider cultural understanding.
– Now in as far as defining entrepreneurial culture, and improving that. We found some commonly understand characteristics of entrepreneurs and looked at phrasing them into a definition. They are risk takers, innovative, proactive, willing to sacrifice, etc. So the one thing we could achieve in order to improve global entrepreneurial culture is to create trading relationships between all of the delegates of the 2012 G20YES
As you can probably now gather, the G20YEA and YES are absolutely amazing for the improving the cause of the entrepreneur. I sincerely hope that every person reading this article reaches out to me and offers to connect and contribute to our cause.