The 2017 G20 YEA Communiqué — Recommendations for Strengthening International Youth Entrepreneurship (And Fighting Unemployment)
The world needs a more innovative approach for global growth and employment. Growth is slowing down and unemployment, especially among youth, is rising or remaining at a high level. Demographic changes, technological advances and increased mobility are profoundly changing the world of work and are expected to do so even more in the future. A concrete solution emerges now more than ever: it is youth entrepreneurship. This solution is crucial for more dynamic labor markets, not only because young entrepreneurs are job creators and hire more young people than average companies, but also because they think outside the box when it comes to building businesses. Indeed, young entrepreneurs are more easily inclined to try new business ideas, and they do no let themselves be stopped by national boundaries. They think at an international scale by keeping an eye on the possibilities that the world offers to them instead of focusing on what the limitations are.
However, on a global scale, they face hindrances induced by the barriers set by many countries in regards to international business — barriers that are in certain cases reinforced instead of lowered. Therefore, an international voice is needed to emphatically express the requests of young entrepreneurs worldwide and to present recommendations to state leaders on how to create more business opportunities and foster youth entrepreneurship on a global level — especially with the aim to fight youth unemployment.
Since 2010, the G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance (G20 YEA), carrying the voice of 500.000 young entrepreneurs within the G20 countries, is carried by dynamic entrepreneurs under 40, which are carefully selected by the most active and important organizations representing them within their respective countries. The representatives of these organizations meet every year at a G20 YEA Summit prior to the G20 conference. Before each Summit, they examine what the G20 countries’ shared contexts are in regards to youth unemployment and international business and commerce in order to articulate recommendations for the annual G20 YEA Communiqué, which aims to address the most pressing issues raised.
I was able to participate on behalf of Germany in five of these G20 YEA Summits: first as a delegate in 2013 in Moscow, in 2014 in Sydney and in 2015 in Istanbul, and then as the G20 YEA President for Germany in 2016 in Beijing. In June 2017, I had the pleasure of hosting the G20 YEA Summit on behalf of JCI Germany (Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland, www.wjd.de) in Berlin, which 400 young entrepreneurs attended. During these past five years, I had the honor of working on each annual Communiqué and also of raising my voice in 2016 and 2017 in the B20 Taskforces on behalf of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance and JCI Germany. Considering the development of the G20 YEA Communiqué during the last five years, I am extremely pleased that the 2017 G20 YEA Communiqué is very pointed — it consists of three general recommendations and three specific requests.
The general recommendations of the young entrepreneurs of the G20 countries are the following:
1. Find mechanisms to the fast-changing premises and harness the potential of technological change. With innovation and digitalization, our societies and economies are changing. G20 leaders need to prioritize education and find adaptable and pragmatic mechanisms of human capital development as key to identifying smart solutions to new technical, societal, economic and environmental realities.
2. Facilitate SME participation in cross-border trade. The G20 YEA strongly encourages G20 leaders to continue adopting bilateral and multilateral agreements to support the needs of SMEs and the integration of young entrepreneurs into global value chains and scaling across borders. Furthermore the G20 YEA recommends a stronger SME representation in international organizations, like the World Trade Organization (WTO).
3. Facilitate smart infrastructure. The G20 YEA calls upon the G20 leaders to invest in broadband infrastructure and other ICT infrastructure to allow start-ups and scale-up businesses in developed and least developed countries to grow. When expanding the digital infrastructure public-private-partnerships should be considered. The G20 YEA also calls upon the G20 leaders to set as a goal that all G20 countries will have a 5G network in place by 2022.
The specific requests are the following:
1. Improve quality Education. The G20 YEA calls upon G20 governments to review educational priorities to ensure young people have access to knowledge and skills vital for new technological and business realities, including digital competencies, STEM education, and venture creation skills. At the same time, the education system should overcome the disciplinary fragmentation of knowledge and emphasize ethical competency as a key to understanding the complexity of the social context.
2. Introduce smart taxation schemes. The G20 YEA calls on G20 leaders to enable SMEs to scale through tax incentives for scale ups and investors by adopting progressive policy measures like a separate tax category for young entrepreneurs working in priority areas of innovation and social entrepreneurship. The G20 YEA further encourages the harmonization of taxation schemes in the G20 countries to lower barriers for doing business across borders, including reducing barriers and creating tax incentives for cross-border access to capital in the G20.
3. Ensure the mobility of entrepreneurs through a G20 Entrepreneur Visa and administrative simplification. The G20 YEA believes that a coordinated effort among the 20 countries to simplify the migration of young entrepreneurs could significantly motivate them to grow their businesses internationally and promote the free flow of innovative talent across borders. Therefore, the G20 YEA calls on the G20 governments to establish a G20 Entrepreneur Visa Program to provide short-term multi-entry visas and administrative simplification for young entrepreneurs by 2020.
The 2017 G20 YEA Communiqué shows what can be achieved when a group of people — in this case young entrepreneurs — focus and collaborate on what is most important and most valuable to them in order to articulate with a joint voice their recommendations on what the leaders of the G20 countries should do to support them and their business endeavors. Following the Summit in Berlin, the 2017 G20 YEA Communiqué was endorsed by the B20, with the B20 Chairman Dr. Jürgen Heraeus affirming: “B20 Germany is proud to support the 2017 G20 YEA Communiqué. Young entrepreneurs are powerful drivers of economic renewal, job creation, innovation and social change.”
The G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance remains committed to its vision of a world where “young entrepreneurs found their businesses and change their own lives and become important contributors to social change, job creation and economic renewal.” The Communiqué is only one part of the work done by the G20 YEA. The young entrepreneurs from the G20 countries face new challenges created by the ever-changing world we live in — challenges they will keep bringing up in conversations. Living these situations in the front seats, they are our leaders’ most competent advisors regarding recommendations aiming to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s business challenges for young entrepreneurs. Also, from now on, having established a solid structure, the G20 YEA intends to increase its influence and take a more rightful place within the G20.
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Carsten Lexa is the President of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs´ Alliance Germany and the host of the German G20 YEA 2017 Berlin Summit (link to the Summit website). Since June he is also the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the G20 YEA. A corporate lawyer by profession and equipped with his own law firm (link to the law firm website), 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), the biggest organization for young leaders and entrepreneurs in Germany.