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 / UNIDO / Youth & Entrepreneurship

Did You Know?

The demographic trends of the last century resulted in a global situation where, in the developing world, the great majority of people are young people: in certain countries, there can be up to 70 per cent of people under the age of 30. While this is overall a reason for long-term optimism, it also creates daunting short- and medium-challenges as governments cannot carry the economic weight of its young population and must find solutions to ensure their livelihood. Failure to do so resulted in mass migration and civil uproars, including in the “Arab spring”, which started with the discontent of Tunisian youth over the lack of employment opportunities. In addition, many developing countries heavily rely on agriculture as a mainstay of their economies, with vulnerable groups such as youth being more likely to be in poorly paid activities, or unable to access productive work.

Who are the active players in this field?

UNIDO, via the UN 2030 Strategy on Youth, places the economic needs of young women and men at the heart of its activities by ensuring that youth priorities are integrated across all areas of the Organization, and that it increases the impact of its programmes and projects on youth employment. To this end, UNIDO works with numerous public and private partners.

How is UNIDO targeting youth?

The Organization takes an innovative and integrated approach to the economic empowerment of youth through several programmes, including such as the Entrepreneurship Curriculum Programme (ECP), which imparts entrepreneurship skills at high-school level. Other evocative directions for targeting youth include the cooperation with HP Life, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Italian Development Cooperation for skills development and the Entrepreneurship Development and Investment Promotion Programme run by ITPO Bahrain, which helps develop business ideas through business coaching and incubation into successful enterprises.

Youth challenges associated with industry 4.0

The contemporary world economy is in an innovation‐rich phase that gives rise to new leading sectors (e.g. product, process and service innovations) as well as to new organizational and managerial innovations that ultimately heralds both challenges and opportunities for the next generation of adults. On the positive side, the paradigm shift envisions fresh models which offer new opportunities in new growth sectors and growth economies for youth to thrive and develop. Closing the circle between production and the market is one of the most difficult challenges faced by young creative entrepreneurs. The development of creative entrepreneurial and marketing skills requires the establishment of an appropriate model that involves market access and market entry for young industry practitioners through market incubators, business residencies, internships and programmes. This is one of the aspects that ITPO Bahrain seeks to address with its new innovation module.