Youth Business International's 2013 Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit has come to an end after seeing more than 300 people from over 40 countries join together in London to discuss youth entrepreneurship with the aim of creating a blueprint for a global partnership.
The Summit culminated with the announcement of the overall winner of YBI's annual Young Entrepreneur Awards. The Awards, supported by Barclays, aim to promote youth entrepreneurship, celebrate the achievements of young entrepreneurs around the world, and highlight how young entrepreneurs can contribute to local communities. They are a reminder of the importance of recognising success; they honour these inspirational entrepreneurs as local, national and international role models; and they acknowledge best practice in start-up businesses and entrepreneurship support structures.
Sharad Tandale from India was crowned the 2013 Young Entrepreneur of the Year after being selected from over 80 entrants from around the world. In a closely-contested competition, he clinched the title ahead of runners-up Huaping Yang from China and Prinson Thuraiaiya of Sri Lanka. Following a thorough interview process and review of comprehensive evidence, he was chosen as the winner by a highly-regarded judging panel which included Karen Lynch, CEO of Belu Water, and Justin Shinebourne from Awards supporter, Barclays.
Sharad, with his infrastructure services business Innovation Engineers and Contractors, has made significant contributions to the local economy and community from which he originates. According to the judging panel, Sharad had the edge and scored highly particularly for the community employment opportunities he has created. His business not only offers skill-building for local young people in his rural community but also apprenticeship-style programmes for his existing employees so that they can progress within the business. Sharad has also helped four people from his community to set up businesses.
Sharad's journey to success has not been easy. He comes from a tribal community in rural India where less than 1% of people start up businesses. Sharad's family opposed his entrepreneurial ideas but, with the help of a government scholarship, he got an engineering degree from a rural institute.
Unable to sustain himself in his first job, he looked to tackle small engineering jobs on his own but lacked the capital to execute them. No financial institution was willing to fund him but YBI's India member, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), was impressed with how he had overcome tribal community barriers and built up work contacts. A loan of $20,000 was approved for materials and equipment and Sharad has also received invaluable advice from BYST mentor, Ramesh Bandre.
Today Sharad's engineering company boasts a growth-rate of 2,500%; it employs 175 people; and it provides a variety of services not usually offered by small businesses to meet the needs of underserved areas as well as larger municipal clients, such as the city of Pune. By laying the foundations of his business with integrity and ensuring his workforce is happy and financially independent, he has proved himself to be a community icon at a national level.
Other young entrepreneurs and a mentor who were honoured at the Awards ceremony included Godavari Satpute (33) from India, crowned the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year; Nimali Gunwardana (25) from Sri Lanka who won Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year; Mohan Singh from India who won Mentor of the Year; and Bhutan's Karma Yonten (30) won Environmental Entrepreneur of the Year.
During the week of the Global Summit, our young entrepreneurs and mentor met with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (who is President of YBI), who congratulated them on their extraordinary achievements and contributions.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales said: "I have long been inspired by the winners of the Young Entrepreneur Awards, held by my Youth Business International. From China to Sri Lanka, these talented entrepreneurs show us what can be done with a small amount of money and the right kind of support. As it becomes ever more difficult for young people around the world to find meaningful employment, the winners of the Young Entrepreneur Awards act as powerful role models for other young people who might not otherwise have considered setting up their own business."
The Prince's Charities have helped create more than 125,000 entrepreneurs in the UK and overseas, and given business support to 395,000 people.
Our Young Entrepreneur Awards is a platform to honour and pay tribute to the moving stories of our entrepreneurs' courage, motivation, determination and their contribution towards their communities. The Awards are also a wonderful opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship as a viable route for young people around the world.
Sharad was awarded the overall title at this year's global Young Entrepreneur Awards, which was run in partnership with Barclays. The Awards rounded off YBI's Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in London, which was supported by Barclays, Accenture and BG Group.