We Must Breed Young Entrepreneurs to Address Youth Unemployment Gap

At home and abroad, governments have been unable to solve the persistent youth unemployment gap.

Recently branded by the CBC as Generation Jobless, a recent Labour Force survey showed that Canadian youth unemployment rate sits at 14.2%, twice the Canadian national average. The EU is no different, with a recent Eurostat report showing the EU suffering from a 24% youth unemployment rate, a ratio that is also double the average, persisting since early 2000. While the picture looks bleak, a group of 400 entrepreneurs are gathering together to offer a solution; fix the gap by breeding more young entrepreneurs.

On June 14, I will have the privilege to gather in Moscow, Russia with 19 other Canadian young entrepreneurs, and 380 more from across the other G20 nations, at the 3rd Annual G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit. We are gathering to pool our collective networks, industry expertise and local influence, to lobby global G20 leaders to take a serious look at entrepreneurs as an invaluable tool to solving the structural youth unemployment gap.

“Small businesses contribute around 30% of Canadian GDP, provide about 5,000,000 jobs. There are about 1.2 million small businesses with at least 1 person on payroll. This is just Canada and all of these people are entrepreneurs,” says Donny Ouyang, Founder of Rayku.com, and a fellow member of the Canadian G20 delegation. “If these stats can’t convince a political leader to pay attention, then they are not considering 26% of the working population.”

Donny’s comments echo the specific reason I chose to build Loose Button; it’s my belief that entrepreneurship is the ultimate form of philanthropy, and it’s a message I feel needs more global recognition. Nonprofits, such as the Impact Entrepreneurship Group, Startup Canada, The Next 36, and accelerators such as FounderFuel, and Extreme Startups, all are addressing this in their own way, but we need global governments to step up, and support this movement. My hope is that representing Canada at the G20 summit will get this message across on a world stage.

At the end of the four days, the Summit will produce a document that summarizes the recommendations we developed as a group, with a call to action for governments to build a local task force that addresses the constraints faced by young entrepreneurs.

“We are in a time where young entrepreneurs have more control over the future of our economy than ever before. Their representation at the G20 summit can help influential political leaders collect valuable insights and help accelerate this new world thinking,” says Mike Schmidt, CEO of MFive Labs.

Arjun Kumar, CEO of Kela Medical echoed Schmidt’s sentiments, adding that “How we define the government’s position today will impact how we will operate our companies in the future.”

As I write this, there is a fierce discussion amongst the group about what to put forth in the document, to ensure we are highlighting the most important recommendations that will truly move the needle on advancing entrepreneurship globally.

What do you think are the most important things governments can do to support the growth of young technology entrepreneurs in our country? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.