unctad.org | Civil society: entrepreneurship is key to creating economic opportunity for disadvantaged groups
Civil society: entrepreneurship is key to creating economic opportunity for disadvantaged groups
14 March 2016
UNCTAD
At the upcoming Multi-year Expert Meeting on Investment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Productive Capacity-Building and Sustainable Development, experts will discuss the role of entrepreneurship in creating job opportunities for marginalized groups, such as women and youth.


The Multi-year Expert Meeting on Investment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Productive Capacity-building and Sustainable Development, will be held in Geneva from 16-17 March 2016.

Ahead of the meeting, three invited speakers share their thoughts on the meeting's theme and why it is important for their organization to attend.


2016-03-14_Armenorujyan.jpgArmen Orujyan, Founder and chairman of Athgo

How does your organization's work help foster entrepreneurship and create work opportunities for disadvantaged groups?

Athgo engages young people, especially those from underserved and underprivileged communities, in entrepreneurship and innovation. We provide instruction in constructive entrepreneurship, intelligent innovation, and startup development through our global innovation forums and startup 3.0 programs.

Every young person attending our program walks away with a startup business concept, a team to build the business with, and depending on the quality of the concept, some seed funding to support their efforts.

We have created recurring innovation forums at respective headquarters of the World Bank (in Washington, D.C.) and the United Nations (in New York City).

We have also brought our programs to Africa and Europe. Over 10,000 young people compose our alumni.

What is the key message you hoped to convey during your presentation?

Entrepreneurship requires a healthy ecosystem to breed founders and startup businesses. Only through a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem can societies experience rapid and sustained growth of small and medium sized enterprises, the bedrock of any healthy economy.

Why is it important for your organization to participate in this meeting?

We have a particular expertise and experience when it comes to activating communities to become individually successful and collectively productive. We would like to support UNCTAD and the World Investment Forum by sharing our practices and experience with other stakeholders.



2016-03-14_CarolineKant.jpgCaroline Kant, Founder and CEO of EspeRare

How does your organization's work help foster entrepreneurship and create work opportunities for disadvantaged groups?

Our social enterprise puts highly qualified pharma experts at the service of an underserved and vulnerable population-children suffering with rare diseases.

Additionally, to develop treatments, and bridge all the various skills needed to run these projects, EspeRare works with ex-corporate professionals that have established themselves as independents and that are providing their expertise to small and medium enterprises.

Through our volunteer program, EspeRare has also helped many people reintegrate the workplace after an interruption in their career (e.g. to stay at home and care for children).

What is the key message you hoped to convey during your presentation?

I would like to demonstrate that with an entrepreneurial spirit one can establish new business models that address social challenges and create a win-win relationship between the corporate world and humanitarian organizations-both looking to foster sustainable social progress.

I would also like to mention that professionals, in particular the young generation, are compelled to work for organizations that display a socially-driven purpose, which creates a highly motivating work environment.

Why is it important for your organization to participate in this meeting?

I am looking forward to exchanging ideas with the other speakers and participants about entrepreneurial progress and its impact in different settings and sectors. I would also like to discuss the interplay between innovative entrepreneurship projects and international organizations, such as the UN, that have the ability to influence policy frameworks in a way that could enable social development projects to flourish, thus  enhancing their impact.


2016-03-14_BrianBell.jpgBrian Bell, Managing Director for Employability and International at Working Links

How does your organization's work help foster entrepreneurship and create work opportunities for disadvantaged groups?

We work predominantly in the United Kingdom and the Middle East, where we work with the most disadvantaged people to help them into sustainable work. We have found work for over 500,000 people, with around 50,000 moving into self-employment. These are predominantly people who would never have believed they could be entrepreneurs.

Our approach is in three phases

1. Understanding People - we spend time getting to know people, listening, and critically assessing their needs, we have built a ground breaking assessment system - we help people to realize their own potential, for some that means becoming entrepreneurs - we motivate them, we inspire then, showing them role models, people like them who have succeeded.

2. Helping people to achieve - we help people to achieve results through providing opportunities to learn. For budding entrepreneurs that means learning how to become an entrepreneur. We use digital and classroom-based learning in their communities to teach hard skills around managing cash and profit and loss, and soft skills such as team work and,selling techniques

3. Helping people to succeed - for new entrepreneurs this can mean working with authorities to create a physical environment where they can start up their business, test trade, work in collaboration with other like-minded people, as well as continuing to offer learning opportunities.

 
What is the key message you hoped to convey during your presentation? 

The most successful strategies for fostering entrepreneruship are those where governments spend time to fully understand how their citizens behave, what motivates them and what is preventing them to progress; to be successful, governments must create an environment that attracts, rewards and supports budding entrepreneurs.

Why is it important for your organization to participate in this meeting?

Because this is what we do. We are an organization that is driven by social purpose and by making a difference. We have a unique insight into policy design and delivery, and we would like to help governments and authorities fast track to the right answer for their country and their environment.



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Charlie Hebdo