To remain competitive in a 21st-century workforce, youth must have strong backgrounds in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and leadership skills. Developing economies will stagnate without qualified workforces, and there will be a mismatch between the skills that are needed for open jobs and those being taught in schools. Creating environments that foster entrepreneurship will bolster economic development and provide jobs for people around the world. There are many stories such as that of the Indonesian “unicorn,” Go-Jek, that went from having 20 bikes to be valued at $2.5 billion in just 10 years. 42% of the world’s population is under 25 years old, therefore finding jobs for the growing number of youth entering the workforce each year will one of the most pressing global development challenges.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are valuable sources of economic growth and help economies harness and utilize new technologies. Under the right circumstances, SMEs can play a disruptive effect on the market and pushing the incumbent players to be more efficient with the pricing of their products and services. For example, they were responsible for over 60 percent of employment in many OECD regions and cities. Startups, in particular, have massive potential for growth with the average startup in the United States hiring 5.2 employees in its first year. Startups also have greater agility in charting growth and market expansion. Over 86 percent of entrepreneurs who create and scale startups do so out of choice and not as a necessity.
As the world prepares to confront the job creation challenge to respond to an expanding youth bulge, the global economy must be driven by entrepreneurship, while governments must enable innovation in creating favorable conditions that sustain SME growth.
Peter Righi, Global Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED)
Agnes Dasewicz, Fellow, The Rockefeller Foundation
Wesley Alexander, CEO, CoBiz
Shamarukh Mohiuddin, Principal Associate, Nathan
William Sonneborn, Senior Director, Disruptive Technology and Funds, International Finance Corporation
Daniel F. Runde, Senior Vice President; William A. Schreyer Chair and Director, Project on Prosperity and Development, CSIS