United Nations General Assembly

A new UN report called on governments and other decision-makers to remove obstacles to youth social entrepreneurship, such as access to start-up funds.

Many regulatory systems often prevent — sometimes involuntarily — young people from accessing financial products and services needed to start an enterprise. And a lack of access to training, technical support, networks and markets are also discouraging the growth of youth social enterprises, according to “World Youth Report: Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda,” which was released on Thursday. Tearing down barriers that prevent more young people from becoming successful social entrepreneurs will contribute to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and tackling the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, according to the report released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Unemployment among the world’s 1.2 billion young people is far higher than for adults, and COVID-19 has worsened their outlook for job prospects. Social entrepreneurship can provide a viable path forward for young people to earn a living and help address their communities’ needs while advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, said the report. “Creating pathways for youth social entrepreneurship can generate positive outcomes for everyone,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, in a press release. “When supported by enabling policies and programs, social entrepreneurship can represent a great way for young people to earn a living, and improve the world around them.”

The report called on governments to put in place policies and regulatory frameworks that promote skills development, ensure the availability of adapted financial capital and services, generate relevant technical support and infrastructure as well as open networks and markets to young social entrepreneurs. Fostering a culture and societal norms that support youth social entrepreneurship is also needed, said the report.

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