As world leaders gathered last week for the G20 Leaders' Summit in Russia, it emphasised the importance of countries coming together, particularly in times of crisis. Alongside working to address critical issues such the crisis in Syria, the annual G20 Summit continues to present an opportunity to discuss wider issues and challenges that face the world today.
Another forum of this kind, occurring much closer to home, was Youth Business International's (YBI) Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit, which took place last week (9-12 September) in London. The Summit - supported by Accenture, Barclays and BG Group - brings together over 300 experts in youth entrepreneurship from around 50 countries to debate the opportunities for young people to start their own businesses, as well as to examine the challenges regarding the epidemic of global youth unemployment.
This week's Summit culminated in the Young Entrepreneur Awards, supported by Barclays, which on 12 September. This year's shortlist included entrepreneurs from India, China and Sri Lanka - excellent examples of how a global network like YBI's can support individuals to reach their potential. The pinnacle of these Awards is the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, for which three entrepreneurs fought for the title.
Sharad Tandale from India was one entrepreneur in line for the coveted Award - despite less than 1% of his village tribe entering into the world of business, Sharad has successfully launched his engineering company, Innovation Engineers & Contractors. Already a shining star within his community, he has overcome significant cultural and economic boundaries to date, on a personal and communal level. Sharad's business includes offering skill-building for his local rural community and apprenticeship style programmes for his employees to establish their commitment to his business. As well as his business he has helped four individuals from his community to set up their own businesses.
Secondly, Sri Lankan's Prinson Thuraiaiya, despite growing up within a country plagued by violent conflict and poverty, has gone on to great success within his region. Prinson owns a unique business, Prinson Brass Products, which each month recycles 1,000kg of waste metal to transform into Hindu religious products. Alongside making traditional items, Prinson's enterprise encompasses a sustainable, positive social mission. His expanding business supports five full-time employees, assists more than 20 underprivileged youths to get an income and wins praise from green agencies including the Sri Lankan central environmental authority.
The final contender was from China. Huaping owns Chengdu Aosite Education, an after-school tutoring chain for primary and middle school students. As the son of a poor farming family in a remote Sichuan village, Huaping was determined to pursue his vision of running his own education business. After one failed attempt which left him burdened with debt, his determination to learn from his mistakes was recognised by his local YBI network, Youth Business China. The business, launched in May 2009 now has an annual turnover of over $1.7 million.
As the experiences mentioned show, support from a global network can have myriad benefits, both on a macro but also micro level, to the individuals it supports along the way. Without such a network in place, the aspirations of people like those detailed here would remain a dream for many.
YBI honoured the Entrepreneur of the Year at the global Young Entrepreneur Awards, which is part of YBI's Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit. The Awards is supported by Barclays.