G20 Executive Talk Series


Authored by: Carsten Lexa, LL.M.

The G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance: A Strong International Voice Against Youth Unemployment

What is the result of a combination of low rates of growth, high level of youth unemployment and an increasingly younger population in a country? An increasingly troubling economic outlook! That´s what the G20 members have faced for the past several years and in parts still face today. Therefore, the question that has to be answered is this: what policies can G20 governments adopt to address youth joblessness and disengagement and as a result encourage growth in their countries? Many economies that are rapidly developing face the challenge of finding work for large numbers of young people who will soon enter the workforce. Who can provide an answer to the challenge of youth unemployment?

That is the moment of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance (G20 YEA). The G20 YEA is a global network of 500.000 young entrepreneurs and the organisations that support them. The idea of the Alliance was born at the 2009 G8 Summit in Italy and was initiated after an invitation by the former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the G20 YEA Summit 2010 in Toronto. At this Summit, participants determined entrepreneurship as the main force to combat the high levels of youth unemployment and as a result contributed to a communiqué that identified 5 key barriers that discourage young people from starting their own business and therefore enable them to escape the trap of youth joblessness: excessive regulation and taxation, even in a very early stage of a business; inadequate or inefficient coordination of many of the forms of support that are available; social attitudes that discourage risk-taking or stigmatize failure; the need for specific entrepreneurial education in schools and universities and access to funding to support start-ups and early-stage business growth.

Over the years, these five barriers became the pillars of the work of the G20 YEA and are prominently featured in the themes of every annual G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Summit, always held in the same country as the G20 Summit. These unique events bring together hundreds of young entrepreneurs from the G20 countries, carefully selected by each member organisation.

To move the causes of youth entrepreneurship and the fight against youth joblessness forward, the G20 YEA became on one hand engaged with the G20 and their leaders and governments in a very early stage. Following the invitation in 2010 by the Canadian Prime Minister, in 2012 Mexican President Filipe Calderon met with more than 200 young entrepreneurs in his residence in Los Pintos and in 2017 at the G20 YEA Summit in Germany the guests at the Summit will include the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Brigitte Zypries, and the State Secretary Dorothee Bär who is responsible for the topic of “digitalisation“ at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

On the other hand, the relationship with the B20 (Business 20) was especially fruitful. The G20 YEA´s 2013 Moscow Summit was the first substantial engagement of the G20 YEA in the B20 and resulted in the inclusion of language on youth entrepreneurship in the subsequent G20´s Saint Petersburg communiqué. The G20 YEA´s 2014 Sidney Summit created a global action plan for young entrepreneurs and the G20 YEA´s 2015 Istanbul Summit yielded a commitment in the G20 communiqué at Antalya that year to “support the better integration of our young people into the labour market including through the promotion of entrepreneurship”. Finally in 2016 members of the G20 YEA began to work in the B20 Task Forces, encouraged by the Chair of B20 China, which resulted in 2017 in an open invitation by the Chair of the B20 Germany for the entrepreneurs of the G20 YEA to become even more involved in the B20 Task Forces. In addition, the G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance was appointed a “networking partner” to the B20.

The story of the G20 YEA continues in 2017, at the G20 YEA Summit in Berlin from 15th to 17th of June, hosted by JCI Germany (Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland, www.wjd.de) and their G20 YEA President Germany Carsten Lexa. More than 500 young entrepreneurs from the G20 countries will gather to share with the G20 leaders their ideas on the future of business, on how digitalisation will change the way to do business worldwide and on what can be done, from the perspective of young entrepreneurs, to create growth and employment opportunities, especially in the context of a more and more connected world. Information on the G20 YEA Summit 2017 can be found here: www.g20yea2017.com.

The fight against youth unemployment will not end for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance any time soon, especially in times where the idea of open borders to create worldwide wealth, growth and jobs and the advantages of this idea are questioned. Fortunately, young entrepreneurs have an unending willingness to do, be and learn more, they don´t accept the status quo and they want to change things that they think needs to be changed. And: they are not only crazy enough to think they can change the world – they do!

Carsten Lexa, LL.M. is the President of G20 YEA Germany and the host of the German 2017 Berlin Summit. A corporate lawyer by profession and equipped with his own law firm, he advises international clients, who want to do business in Germany, in corporate and commercial legal matters. He is, by invitation of the European Commission, a participant in the annual SME Assembly. He is also a member of the B20 Task Forces and since 2014 a member of the national board of JCI Germany (WJD – Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland), Germany´s biggest organization for young leaders and entrepreneurs. Carsten can be reached via e-mail (g20yea@kanzlei-lexa.de), Facebook (facebook.com/kanzlei.lexa), Twitter (twitter.com/kanzlei_lexa) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/carstenlexa).