Livelihoods Through Self-Employment

About

The Livelihoods Through Self-Employment Track addresses the rise of self-employment in the formal economy, and the high levels of informality in most developing economies. Even as self-employment and entrepreneurship can offer greater freedom and self-reliance for some, this trend also poses critical challenges for many. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how deeply vulnerable the predominantly young, self-employed, gig, contract, and seasonal workforce is to shocks. How can we re-think self-employment and entrepreneurship in light of the challenges and opportunities presented by the current crisis? How do we ensure that as we rebuild, that young people are better protected and able to build their own businesses in a recovering economy?

 

The track includes cross-cutting topics such as youth engagement, gender, technology, healthy workforce, systems change and policy, among others. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on young people, The Livelihoods Through Self-Employment track hosted a series of discussions and deep-dive breakout sessions with youth development experts and innovators that explored what kinds of skills, programs, and policies can better prepare and support young people for self-employment or entrepreneurship, in the growing gig and informal economies.  In addition to the sessions, the track is supported further by content in the Track Technical Content section of this page. 

GYEOS Live Track Event

On July 30th from 9:00 am – 11:30 am EST, the YEO Network convened the first in a series of six online Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit events that follow our technical tracks in skills development, workforce readiness, self-employment and entrepreneurship, and cross-cutting topics such as gender, conflict, systems change, policy, and more.

Date & Time:

Thursday, July 30th, 9:00 am – 11:30 am EDT  

Format:

Two and a half hours, online

Schedule of Events:

9:00 am – 9:10 am - Welcome & Opening

9:10 am – 10:10 am - Track Opening & Headline Speakers

10:10 – 10:15 am - Transition to Breakout Sessions

10:15 am – 11:15 am -  Four concurrent 60-minute breakout sessions 11:30 am -  Event Close

Opening Speakers 

Jessica Osborn, Caribou Digital
Jessica Osborn, Caribou Digital

A digital economies consultant who jointly leads the Mastercard Fnd. Learning Partnership and Caribou Digital’s Live Learning program, providing bespoke immersive study visits to emerging markets. Previous roles include Product Manager for Alphabet's IOT company, Nest; Commercial & Bus. Ops. Manager for Digital Financial Services at Google in Nairobi; among others positions across Africa. She holds a First Class Honors degree in Pol. & Econ. from the University of Durham, UK.

Wendy Meruvia, Ciudad Mundo (World City) Foundation
Wendy Meruvia, Ciudad Mundo (World City) Foundation

Co-founder & Director of Ciudad Mundo Foundation, a social entrepreneurship that aims to promote the comprehensive development of young people through programs and projects that combine international travel with personal and professional growth. Wendy has a BA in Graphic Design, an MA in Social Project Management & Bus. Admin., and is certified in Higher Edu. She is a 2016 YLAI Fellow, former YouthLead Ambassador, and a member of the YP2LE Youth Advisory Group.

Muhannad Jarrah, INJAZ Education
Muhannad Jarrah, INJAZ Education

Eng. Muhannad Jarrah is the Executive Director of INJAZ Education, he is an internationally recognized leader in the field of institutions. He has been actively involved with INJAZ since 2000, INJAZ, and has managed the organization’s operations for almost 19 years, supporting INJAZ to become a leader in financial education nationally and internationally. Mr. Jarrah earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1991.

Breakout Sessions Information and Recordings

In this session we were presented with efforts to increase youth employment in the cocoa sector. Leveraging the role of technology to connect, communicate and scale while generating data to build digital assets for young entrepreneurs; built on a blockchain platform to enable a variety of protection measures in the user transactions, as well as to facilitate eventual access to digital finance products. Save the Children along with its private sector partner Mondelez International, and technology partner Zeva presented the lessons learned from its Beta launch of the application. The session explored the role and value proposition for corporate partners in project innovation; insights from the design process driven by potential users as well as initial leanings in terms of functionality of the application as well as the results from the field testing.

Presenter Profiles

Watch Session

Save the Children US, Zeva Inc., & Mondelez International 
A Block-Chain Based Application for Youth Agripreneurs in the Cocoa Value Chain

Successful youth entrepreneurs not only create jobs for themselves; with support, they can also help resolve larger industry bottlenecks to growth through B2B solutions. This session presented the MEPI/World Learning Algeria Entrepreneurship and Employment Project’s approach to identifying and incubating youth-led business-to-business enterprises that respond to the needs of companies in the food processing, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and construction materials industries. The prroject’s work exemplified that B2B opportunity identification is up to date in the uncertain COVID-19 affected economy, and we heard from two Algerian youth discussing the B2B solutions they are developing at the Algerian Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSE) incubation. Attendees learned concrete tools for identifying B2B opportunities and information about how to structure the incubation process to best support youth in meeting these industry needs.

Presenter Profiles

Watch Session

World Learning & World Learning Algeria 
Youth-Led B2B Enterprise Incubation: A New Approach to Youth Employment and Industry Growth

Global economic changes driven by advances in technology and communication, the globalization of the supply chain, inexpensive access to information have created new opportunities for East African youth to overcome traditional barriers to opportunity due to historic lack of market growth, unrealistic labor market expectations, limited understanding of education and training options, irrelevant soft skills, and inabilities to navigate the job search, application and interview processes. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, young people have further demonstrated their ability to find opportunity in the midst of chaos and lead in innovative and creative ways: youth have canvassed local needs and piloted ideas to meet health, education, and economic challenges in their communities. Closed borders have prompted youth to test local business concepts and refine technology for long-term viability. As a result, a better understanding emerged about the real and perceived barriers for young people to launch profitable small businesses. Post-COVID-19, there will be a critical need to stimulate economies, get people back to work and manage the psycho-social needs incurred during COVID crisis. As the “next normal” emerges, young people must be at the center of economic rebuilding and included in multi-stakeholder partnerships that are focused on addressing skill gaps, business enterprise development, and systemic change to grow GDP across East Africa.

Presenter Profiles 
Watch Session
Asante Africa Foundation, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
Accelerating Youth Innovation and Economic Prosperity Through Enterprise Development Post-COVID
 
IREX, Education for Employment & KaziRemote
Virtual Gigs Disrupted: From Informality to Sustained Careers 

In a time of uncertainty, youth interventions cannot ignore the potential of the growing virtual gig economy to offer new opportunities for self-employment. This session explored how virtual work can empower youth to circumvent barriers to employment in their geographies so that they can earn incomes and practice resilience amid limited economic opportunities (Kenya), conflict (Palestine), and disruption (COVID19). Virtual work has risks due to informality - lack of job security, low wages, and few or no benefits. Development actors must re-imagine ways youth prepare to engage in virtual work so they can transition beyond the ‘stop gaps’ of poor work conditions into decent work in sustained careers and entrepreneurship. During this session, panelists facilitated a discussion about this topic and share insights from ongoing research and implementation. IREX and KaziRemote shared initial insights on a Skills for Virtual Gigs research initiative for youth in Kenya and Education for Employment shared lessons learned from a model implemented in Palestine to equip youth with career support, skills, and networks for virtual work. Participants contributed to a discussion on how to support youth in transitioning from ‘informal’ virtual work into sustained, decent work, careers and entrepreneurship. 

Presenter Profiles

Watch Session

Track Technical Content

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Self-Employment and Livelihoods in LAC

About

Across the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, the average youth unemployment level is nearly 18%, and economic growth averaged just 1.4% in 2018. Formal employment cannot absorb all entrants into the labor market. Lack of skills, experience, and professional networks place youth at a particular disadvantage in formal employment. Promoting self-employment and entrepreneurship is a key approach to support more successful labor market entry and income generation for youth in LAC. Youth themselves recognize the value of self-employment: according to a 2016 Gallup poll, around 20% of Latin American youth planned to start a business in the next year. Programs that support youth in creating and growing productive businesses, even businesses that start and remain small, can provide pathways for youth to gain more secure livelihoods.

The goal of this brief is provide guidance on steps for using best practices in entrepreneurship program design, implementation and evaluation to support youth who are oriented toward securing livelihoods. These are youth who are most often entrepreneurs of necessity, rather than entrepreneurs of opportunity.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

LAC, Entrepreneurship, Informal Economy

Content Type

Brief

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Now, More Than Ever: Youth Social Entrepreneurship and Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

About

The social entrepreneurship model is increasingly perceived by young people as a tool to do exactly that – mobilize, organize, innovate and deliver solutions – while generating employment. Young social entrepreneurs often live in the communities they seek to serve, which regularly include marginalized or underserved groups. Moreover, a growing number of young social entrepreneurs are focusing their efforts on global challenges such as promoting climate action, sustaining peace, addressing inequalities, and now, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

COVID-19, Entrepreneurship, Informal Economy

Content Type

Article

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Algeria Entrepreneurship & Employment Project - Setif Economic Opportunity Analysis

About

In Setif, our research team identified three key industries that, as of Q4 2019, showed potential to provide youth employment and entrepreneurship opportunities: agribusiness/food processing; construction materials; and plastics. This selection was based on an analysis of export potential, presence of SMEs; volume of entry-level jobs; a supportive enabling environment; and committed leadership. In light of the current pandemic, the personal care and hygiene product industry, and related offshoots of the plastics industry, may also hold at least short-term potential for youth employment, as well as a variety of types of support to remote work and e-commerce.

Through interviews and workshops with SME representatives, the team mapped sector supply chains and identified and analyzed a) needs to support SME business growth and b) opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship in and across the three sectors. When asked how the project could help firms in their industry, a majority of firms identified help finding a trained workforce and connecting to inputs as major needs. Business strategy and the opportunity to interact with other firms were mentioned, but less of a priority.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Gender

Content Type

Report

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Protecting young startups during COVID-19

About

From the way youth see it, business as usual just won’t cut it. Consider the staggering statistics: According to a survey done in 2014 by the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 72 percent of millennials –between 18 and 34 – believe corruption is holding back their country. An equal number think it is causing lost opportunities for their generation.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Entrepreneurship, Asia-Pacific, COVID-19

Content Type

Article

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Helping youth enterprise take off, will bring sustainable returns, say UN economists

About

Young entrepreneurs who want their work to have a positive impact on their communities, urgently need more help from governments if they’re to succeed and resist the COVID-19-fuelled economic downturn.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Entrepreneurship, COVID-19, Policy

Content Type

Article

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COVID-19 and the future of work in Africa: How to shore up incomes for informal sector workers

About

As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to disrupt the global economy, not only the health but the livelihoods of millions are at stake through reduced earnings and increased poverty.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Informal Economy, Policy, Africa

Content Type

Article

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3 challenges facing global gig economy growth after COVID-19

About

The spread of COVID-19 across the globe has changed many people's lives. As more and more people are asked to stay home, many activities have been forced to move from offline to online (O2O), including work, grocery shopping, food delivery, education and entertainment. This new trend could help the global O2O gig economy flourish provided key challenges can be overcome.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Gig Economy, Policy, Africa

Content Type

Article

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Platform-Led Upskillling - How marketplace platforms can transform emerging markets by investing in skills development

About

Technology is not simply digitizing the activities that make financial services possible in Africa. It is reshaping how and when people use financial services and, increasingly, how they earn incomes in the first place. The Mastercard Foundation’s Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa (FiDA) draws insights from a large, diverse portfolio of fintech partners to focus on defining trends, such as how digital marketplaces (“platforms”) facilitate financial services to digitizing workers and small businesses. Increasingly, platforms combine access to markets, finance, and skills development for consumers, workers, and small businesses. These enablers are critical to the Foundation’s strategy going forward, and this paper highlights an important new approach to skills development through platforms.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Gig Economy, Financial Inclusion, Digital Skills

Content Type

Whitepaper

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Opinion: The impact of COVID-19 on African gig workers — and what needs to be done

About

COVID-19 has drawn global attention to the fragile nature of work for people in the gig economy; with few legislated benefits or worker protections, these people are among those hardest hit economically by the crisis. But while the issue is global, some places will be harder hit than others.

Caribou Digital

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Gig Economy, Financial Inclusion, Policy, Africa

Content Type

Article

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