Clinton Global Initiative: Supporting Youth Entrepreneurship


The U.S. economy unemployment rate has fallen 7.4 percent, and it is expected to continue to drop. However, young people are still struggling at unprecedented rates to get jobs. In fact, young adults comprise 17 percent of the world’s population, yet they make up 40 percent of the world’s unemployed. The youngest college graduates in America experience unemployment twice as much as graduates in their early 30s. 

It’s time to change the way the world thinks about the process of “getting a job.” This can be done through supporting entrepreneurship among the young -- the people who will be responsible for fueling and leading our country in the very near future. Entrepreneurship as a career path can create jobs and drive economic growth across the globe, particularly at the student level when individuals are less afraid to fail, and more inclined to dream up crazy ideas that may just work. 

On September 25th, Clinton Global Initiative thought leaders in the the youth community gathered together for an interactive brainstorm session to create new solutions and actionable steps for empowering youth and driving creativity to support employment and entrepreneurship. They did this through participating in an IDEO design thinking workshop. After hearing insights on the importance of youth leadership by Barbara Pierce Bush, CEO of Global Health Corps, Travis Montaque, CEO of Splyst, Soraya Salti, CEO of INJAZ Al-Arab, and Amy J. Stursberg, Executive Director of Blackstone Charitable Foundation the entire room got to work. 

Here are the IDEO rules for design thinking. 

  • defer judgment
  • encourage wild ideas - the wilder the better
  • build on the ideas of others
  • go for quantity  - the more the better
  • one conversation at a time
  • stay focused on the topic 
  • be visual

To get started each table was asked to focus on three questions. These included: 

  1. How might we best prepare the next generation of workers? 
  • consider use of technology, mentorship, business and eduction 

2. How might we remove the barriers of youth entrepreneurship in global markets? 

  • perception of entrepreneurship in diverse markets
  • financing and risk mitigation
  • skills needed and possible supports

3. How might we facilitate connections for youth? 

  • connections between each other
  • connections to other entrepreneurs
  • connections to customers and suppliers

After working with sticky notes, sharpies, and construction paper to brainstorm and illustrate their ideas, the groups shared their solutions. 

These two were my favorite. 

TrySpace: an online platform for young people to discuss ideas and test concepts, while working with peers and mentors. Once the ideas are ready, members will able to use the site to pitch to investors. The idea behind this project is fail fast, fail forward. 

University Catalyst Centers: a program that starts in high schools and brings students  to universities to receive vocational training in areas of interest. The initiative will include  an accredited business creation program with degrees for those who complete it. The goal is to provide high school students with the ecosystem that universities have. 

Not bad for an hour of brainstorming. 

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