In youth we (should) trust…

It’s been said that in youth we learn; in age we understand. When we think about some of the mistakes that we may have made in our ‘misspent’ youth, it’s easy to fathom how such a conclusion is reached.

But isn’t that the great thing about youth?

It’s that power to be naive and adventurous, to make mistakes and learn from them. To pick yourself up after a perceived — or even a real — ‘failure’. As the business world develops, it is this sentiment, which moves us forward. More than the ‘traditional’ conservative approach of those considered more experienced. That’s why in my humble opinion, youthful exuberance should reign supreme. The mantra is ‘in youth we trust’.
And that was one of my key takeaways from the recent G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit in Berlin, which took place from June 15–16.

Backed by the Alliance’s knowledge partners

Backed by the Alliance’s knowledge partners, Accenture and EY, this year’s event — my 10th overall — focused on four digital trends:

The YEA’s press release laid things out plainly.

“The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (YEA) is concerned that youth across the world lack the knowledge and skills vital for new technological and business realities. Including digital competencies, STEM education, and venture creation skills.”

Carsten Lexa, the newly-appointed chair of the G20 YEA’s steering committee, elaborated:

“The rapid process of digitalization requires world governments to enact new policies immediately”

she said, addressing 400 of the world’s top young entrepreneurs.

“Digitalization disrupts business all around the world. To ensure growth and job creation, young entrepreneurs need a political framework that supports a transition to new forms of entrepreneurship. We need G20 governments to adopt proactive measures that address the challenges of an interconnected world.”

Hear hear

It’s true that in fact most of the world’s economies lack the policy framework necessary to support a successful transformation to a digital economy. This poses significant challenges to future growth, as well as innovation.

What’s more, governments’ need to grasp the fact that it is the small and medium enterprises (SME’s) that are the lifeblood of the present and the future. They are the main job creators in G20 economies. Young entrepreneurs represent a dynamic source of growth and innovation in our countries. At the same time, they also play an important role in mitigating social risks of the global economy.
Innovation in education, free movement, and tax relief.

In their communiqué, the group made three specific recommendations

The need to prioritize education and find adaptable and pragmatic mechanisms of education and its development. That’s the key to identifying smart solutions to new technical, societal, economic and environmental realities.

Also, to enable SMEs to scale through tax incentives for scale-ups and investors. How? By adopting progressive policy measures. Like a separate tax category for young entrepreneurs working in priority areas. Such as those of innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Thirdly, young entrepreneurs called upon the G20 leaders to establish a G20 Entrepreneur Visa Program. As a result, this will provide short-term multi-entry visas and administrative simplification for young entrepreneurs by 2020.

The above priorities are particularly relevant for us at Starttech. We know that many entrepreneurs face these challenges. Especially in Greece. We’re constantly seeking dialogue with our government and other partners, to address them.

Our challenge

Therefore, our challenge is to continue to lobby for such change. And get governments and business communities to listen when the world’s entrepreneurial youth speak. In the world of entrepreneurship, as well as the digital global economy, youth is clearly not wasted on the young.

Originally published on the Starttech Ventures blog.