What will future support for young entrepreneurs look like?

Fri, 10/08/2012 - 11:33 -- nick

In the period February to April 2012, 1.01 million young people aged 16-24 were unemployed.

For young people, long-term unemployment has significant long-term implications. It typically results in lower earnings, more unemployment, and more ill health through the course of their life.

In the recent Acevo commission on youth unemployment, it was estimated that at its current rate, youth unemployment in 2012 will cost the exchequer £4.8bn – more than the budget for further education for 16-19-year-olds in England – and cost the economy £10.7bn in lost output.

The commission also found that youth unemployment at its current levels will create further costs of £2.9bn per year for the exchequer – equivalent to the entire annual budget for Jobcentre Plus – and £6.3bn per year for the economy in lost output. This means that the total net present value of the cost to the Treasury, even if we only look 10 years ahead, is approximately £28bn.

Here at UnLtd, we believe that providing opportunities for young people has never been more important.

So in June, we ran our Social Futures event. We were joined by a engaged group of people to design new ways of supporting, encouraging and inspiring young people to understand the potential of social entrepreneurship.

Over years of supporting motivated and passionate individuals, we have seen how social entrepreneurship can be one route out of long-term unemployment, as well as offering young people the chance to take control of their future by not just seeking a job, but making a job – and potentially making many jobs.

Any support model needs to harness the talent and potential that young people possess to be successful entrepreneurs, with sustainable social ventures creating new employment opportunities and making the world a better place.

In collaboration with Comic Relief, Live UnLtd has published The Confidence Curve report which captures the key lessons UnLtd has learnt from supporting young people to become social entrepreneurs.

With this in mind, the Social Futures design camp saw young social entrepreneurs, big business, policy makers, social investors and funders collaborate to outline the support challenges, as well as identifying what young social entrepreneurs need to start up.

But that's not all we did. Our goal was to get beyond discussion and tip conversations into action.

We started to design new ways to support young people to become successful social entrepreneurs:

• New ways of offering connections that will catapult a promising project into a sustainable social venture.
• New ways of finding the young leaders working hard to make their neighbourhoods a better place to live.
• New ways of helping a young person to build the confidence which will enable them to change the world for the better.

We would like to thank everyone who attended the Social Futures event and contributed time, energy and expertise. We think we're at the start of something special in supporting, encouraging and inspiring young people to become social entrepreneurs.

But it's only the start. We have since created a report of the discussions and what that could mean for future support.

We are also keen to take the ideas and energy from the event forward. If the ideas and themes in this report strike a chord with your own work and thinking then we would love to hear from you. You can submit your ideas here.

Karl Belizaire is policy manager at UnLtd

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