Supporting youth in entrepreneurship
Self-assessment

Create Youth assessment

Culture
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• Entrepreneurship is promoted as a viable activity for youth.• A positive image of youth entrepreneurs is created.• The economic impact of youth entrepreneurship is communicated.• Success stories, role models and entrepreneurship awards are used to showcase youth entrepreneurs from a wide variety of backgrounds, with a wide variety of types of businesses.• Active labour market measures include business creation support measures for youth. Awareness campaigns should seek to develop positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship and stimulate entrepreneurial intentions. Once there is an overall awareness about entrepreneurship among a population, tailored campaigns should be designed for specific sub-groups. Key activities in awareness campaigns for inclusive entrepreneurship include disseminating positive messages in the media, organising outreach and awareness events, and using awards and success stories to celebrate successful entrepreneurs from various population groups. When promoting youth entrepreneurship in society, it is important to highlight the contributions of youth entrepreneurs and to target key role models for youth. read more
• Campaigns, success stories, role models and entrepreneurship awards are used to inspire youth and showcase youth entrepreneurs from a wide variety of backgrounds, with a wide variety of types of businesses. • Messages are tailored for different profiles of youth.• Appropriate messages are used to inform about the role of risk in entrepreneurship.• Appropriate media and online channels are used to reach youth. Target populations of inclusive entrepreneurship campaigns are heterogeneous so awareness campaigns should include tailored messages that are delivered through appropriate channels. Common approaches used include promoting success stories and role models, and using awards inspire entrepreneurs by showcasing different profiles of entrepreneurs and different types of entrepreneurship activities. When delivering youth entrepreneurship campaigns, it is important to promote entrepreneurship through the education system, as well as partnering with organisations such as local chambers of commerce, public employment services and youth organisations to deliver messages to youth outside of the education system.read more
• Targeted campaigns inform parents and teachers about youth entrepreneurship.• A positive image of youth entrepreneurship is created.• Appropriate media and online channels are used to reach key role models. Key role models have an important role in informing about entrepreneurship and encouraging (or discouraging) entrepreneurship activities. Policy makers therefore also need to reach them with information packages and positive messages. To support entrepreneurship for youth, it is important to reach parents and teachers. read more
• Entrepreneurship is presented positively in the mandatory curricula in schooling.• Entrepreneurship education covers a wide variety of entrepreneurship activities and models, e.g. part-time entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship. • Teachers receive training on delivering the entrepreneurship curricula. Formal education presents an opportunity to promote entrepreneurship a large number of youth and young adults. To be effective, teachers need training on entrepreneurship and also need to understand the potential that it can hold for different population groups. Moreover, teaching material should showcase a wide range of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship activities. To have maximum impact on youth, it is important that entrepreneurship is promoted both in formal and information education activities.read more
• Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that promotional activities are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Promotional activities are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results. • Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of youth entrepreneurship promotion activities and results are reported widely.• Monitoring and evaluation results are reported widely and used to improve awareness campaigns. Monitoring and evaluation are an important part of the policy development process. These activities are often contracted out to leverage specialised knowledge and to maintain the impression of impartiality. When evaluating awareness campaigns for youth entrepreneurship, policy makers must keep in mind that there can be a time-lag between the policy action and business creation. A student may not start a business immediately, but later on during their career.read more
Design & delivery
• A strategic plan is available publicly, either as a stand-alone document or as part of a broader policy strategy, e.g. youth employment strategy.• Policy objectives are linked to broader employment, economic and social policy objectives. • Key youth entrepreneurship stakeholders were engaged early in the development of policy objectives and targets.• Indicators of success and data collection processes have been defined.• A public sector actor is responsible for achieving youth entrepreneurship policy objectives. Clearly defining policy objectives and targets can improve the implementation of policies and programmes, and help allocate resources. Often these are outlined in a written document such as a strategy or action plan. It is important that policy objectives and targets are informed by research and stakeholder views, and that they are realistic and achievable. In setting objectives and targets for youth entrepreneurship support, it is important to consider the entrepreneurial potential of different profiles of youth and set objectives and targets accordingly. It is also important that youth entrepreneurship objectives are consistent with youth employment objectives and that a range of youth entrepreneurship stakeholders input into the development of youth entrepreneurship objectives. read more
• Concrete actions to achieve the youth entrepreneurship policy objectives are identified.• There is a clear leader for public sector youth entrepreneurship support.• Responsibility for actions is identified.• Timelines for the concrete actions are identified. • An action plan is available publicly. An action plan can be an effective tool for transforming policy objectives into concrete policy actions on the ground. Action plans for inclusive entrepreneurship typically focus on one target group and identify the actions that will be taken to achieve the policy objectives. While one party should be responsible for the implementation of the action plan, responsibility for each action should be assigned to a ministry, agency or partner. In developing an action plan for youth entrepreneurship support, it is important that policy makers secure support and engagement from youth organisations and other key youth stakeholders. These groups should be consulted during the preparation of the action plan and can have a strong role in implementing initiatives. read more
• Sufficient financial resources have been earmarked to implement the strategy.• Funding sources have been identified.• A tracking system is in place to manage and report on public expenditures related to youth entrepreneurship support. • There is an appropriate balance between investment in policy and programme development and operational expenditures.• There is budget for the monitoring and evaluation. Financial resources for tailored entrepreneurship policies are limited and should be a central consideration when selecting among policy options. It is important to consider all potential sources, including direct financing, matched financing for non-government actions, and the potential of leveraging in-kind support from the non-governmental sector. Effective financial management should include a tracking system that allows ongoing monitoring of expenditures. In securing financial resources for youth entrepreneurship support, it is important to explore all potential funding sources, including the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative. There is also potential to leverage in-kind contributions from youth organisations and business development service providers. read more
• Horizontal co-ordination mechanisms are in-place, e.g. inter-ministerial working group.• Vertical co-ordination mechanisms are in-place, e.g. working groups with policy makers and delivery agencies.• Information on youth entrepreneurship schemes is shared regularly across public sector actors, and with other relevant stakeholders.• Data and statistics on the take-up and impact of youth entrepreneurship schemes are shared regularly across public sector actors, and with other relevant stakeholders.• Informal communication is regular and ongoing between all relevant actors. The effective implementation of inclusive entrepreneurship policies and programmes requires co-ordination across the range of ministries, agencies, and non-government actors involved in designing and delivering support measures to ensure coherence and relevance and actions, and to minimise duplication. Mechanisms that could be used include working groups and committees with representation of all of the relevant actors. Success factors include strong leadership and regular communication. In establishing co-ordination mechanisms for the design and delivery of youth entrepreneurship support, it is important for policy makers to strengthen relationships with youth organisations and ensure that there are mechanisms for information sharing across all actors involved in delivering youth entrepreneurship support. read more
• Promotion is done through youth-focused media (e.g. magazines, television), especially online channels used heavily by youth (e.g. Instagram).• Organisations that work with youth are used to promote entrepreneurship support offers. • Young role models from the various communities are used in outreach. For inclusive entrepreneurship initiatives to be successful, it is critical that the target groups are aware of the available support. Many people from groups that are under-represented or disadvantaged in entrepreneurship (e.g. women, youth, immigrants and the unemployed) are ͞hard to reach͟ and policy makers need to adjust their messages and communication methods to reach these populations. When reaching out to potential youth entrepreneurs, it is important for policy makes to use online platforms and key role models (e.g. parents, teachers). Messages should be tailored to different youth populations such as school drop-outs and university graduates since they likely have different motivations and operate different types of businesses. read more
· Support providers have experience in working with youth with different backgrounds, experiences and objectives.· Front line staff understand the unique challenges faced by different profiles of youth, e.g. lack of experience, lack of collateral. · Front line staff receive communication training to effectively work with different profiles of youth. Entrepreneurs from groups that are under-represented or disadvantaged in entrepreneurship (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) face greater and different barriers to business creation. This calls for support initiatives that are tailored to address the unique barriers faced. To be effective, those delivering support should understand these barriers and be trained to work with the target groups. To improve the delivery of entrepreneurship support for youth, frontline staff should have appropriate entrepreneurship qualifications and experience, and strong communication skills since youth are likely inexperienced in entrepreneurship and the labour market. It is also important for them to understand the challenges faced by different profiles of youth in business creation. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent with strategic objectives. • Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that youth entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of youth entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported publicly. • Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and fed back into the policy development process.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and evaluation results. Monitoring and evaluation are an important part of the policy development process. When assessing the impact of youth entrepreneurship support against strategic objectives, policy makers must keep in mind that there can be a time-lag between the policy action and business creation. A student may not start a business immediately, but later on during their career. read more
Regulations
• The business registration process requires few procedures.• Regulations have been checked to ensure that youth entrepreneurship is treated positively.• Electronic business registration and other business-related e-services exist. • Information on administrative procedures is available in clear language and accessible for youth.• Licensing and certification schemes do not impede youth entrepreneurship.• Youth can easily obtain individual assistance when dealing with administrative regulations and procedures, e.g. by telephone, in-person or online. Business start-up regulations and procedures can be a significant obstacle to business start-up for many entrepreneurs, especially those from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed). These groups often have low levels of entrepreneurship skills and little experience with regulations and institutions related to business start-up. Policy makers have been simplifying processes and reducing capital requirements in recent years, but more can be done. To ensure that business start-up regulations and procedures do not pose undue difficulties for youth entrepreneurs, policy makers should undertake a regulatory impact assessment in consultation with youth organisations and other relevant stakeholders. read more
• Different profiles of youth entrepreneurs have been considered in the development of information products (e.g. websites, brochures) on business creation.• Guidance material on business creation uses easily understood language and is relevant for the types of businesses that youth operate.• Youth can access information related to business creation through relevant channels, e.g. schools, online platforms.• Youth stakeholders were consulted in the development of material and help disseminate it. The provision of tailored information on business creation and self-employment can facilitate business creation by groups that are under-represented and disadvantaged in entrepreneurship (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) since it can address their specific needs. In developing tailored information for youth entrepreneurs, it is important to use easy-to-understand language. Information should be disseminated online and through key institutions such as schools. read more
• Youth entrepreneurs are eligible for coverage in all social security schemes, e.g. health insurance, pension schemes, unemployment insurance.• Welfare bridges and other similar measures are promoted directly to youth to encourage business creation. • There are incentives for business creation to potential youth entrepreneurs, e.g. temporary reductions in social security contributions.• Temporary incentives are phased-out rather than ending abruptly.• Youth entrepreneurs can access social security benefits after a business exit. Social security systems can include both incentives and disincentives for entrepreneurship. Youth entrepreneurship can be encouraged by ensuring that youth entrepreneurs can contribute to and benefit from core elements of social security. Policy makers can also use temporary measures such as reduced contributions to provide an incentive for business creation by youth. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent with strategic objectives. • Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that regulatory measures that support youth entrepreneurs are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Regulatory measures are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results. • Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of regulatory measures on youth entrepreneurship and results are reported widely.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly. Monitoring and evaluation are an important part of the policy development process. These activities are often contracted out to leverage specialised knowledge and to maintain the impression of impartiality. When evaluating the impact of regulations on youth entrepreneurship, policy makers need to assess whether the types of businesses that youth operate are disproportionately impacted by regulations. It is also important to examine how youth are treated in the broader legal framework, e.g. contract law. read more
Entrep. skills
• Needs assessments are used in the design of policies and programmes that support the development of entrepreneurship skills for youth.• Youth and youth organisations are consulted to identify how policy can support the development of entrepreneurship skills. • The needs of different profiles of youth entrepreneurs are considered when designing and implementing policies and programmes that develop entrepreneurship skills.• Background research is conducted to provide a solid evidence-base for policy interventions. • Benchmarking and meta-evaluations are used when designing initiatives that aim to develop entrepreneurship skills. A needs assessment should be completed in the initial stage of developing policies and programmes that seek to strengthen entrepreneurship skills. Key activities include gathering evidence on the challenges face in entrepreneurship by people from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed), reviewing the current support offer, and identifying gaps and areas for improvement. When designing training, coaching, mentoring and business development services for youth entrepreneurs, a needs assessment should consider various profiles of youth entrepreneurs (e.g. school drop-outs, university graduates) and be developed in consultation with key stakeholders to understand gaps in the current support offer and areas for improvement. read more
• Dedicated entrepreneurship training is available for youth.• Training covers the needs at different points of business development, i.e. pre start-up, start-up, growth, exit.• Risk management and financial literacy are included in training programmes. • Hands-on and interactive methods used in training, e.g. role playing, and simulations.• Trainers are trained to work with youth.• Entrepreneurship training for youth has linkages with other entrepreneurship supports, e.g. coaching, mentoring and business financing programmes. • The scale of dedicated entrepreneurship training for youth is appropriate. Entrepreneurship training programmes seek to facilitate the acquisition of business management and entrepreneurship skills. In designing and implementing entrepreneurship training programmes, policy makers need to consider the mode of delivery, themes covered, intensity and frequency of training sessions, and whether other supports should be provided with the training. It is important to adjust entrepreneurship training to the needs of different profiles of youth since they often operate different types of businesses. Training should be delivered with active learning methods (e.g. games, simulations) and it can be effective to deliver training programmes in partnership with organisations that have a history of working with youth. read more
• Dedicated entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring programmes for youth are available.• Objectives for coaching and mentoring relationships are defined by the entrepreneur and their coach and mentor.• There is a matching mechanism to ensure that there is a “good fit” between the entrepreneur and their coach or mentor.• Entrepreneurship coaches and mentors receive training on working with youth.• Coaching and mentoring relationships are established for a limited time period to avoid creating dependence.• The scale of tailored entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring for youth is appropriate. Entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring is can be an effective but resource-intensive support. The keys to a success coaching or mentoring relationship are the quality and dedication of the coach or mentor, and ensuring a good match with the entrepreneurs. When designing and implementing entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring for youth, it is important to build a pool of appropriate coaches and mentors who understand the challenges faced by youth entrepreneurs and are effective communicators. read more
• Tailored business consultancy and advisory services are available for youth entrepreneurs.• Business consultancy and advisory services are integrated with other entrepreneurship supports for youth, e.g. start-up financing.• There is a system of allocating business consultancy and advisory services to youth entrepreneurs with the greatest potential.• Business incubators and accelerators are accessible for youth. • Business trainers and counsellors are trained to work with youth.• The scale of tailored business development services for youth is appropriate. Business development services can help entrepreneurs acquire new skills and expand their networks. Most public programmes offer support at no cost, but entrepreneurs also have the option of paying for private sector professional services. Business development services for youth should be designed in integrated support packages that are delivered by trainers, coaches and business advisors that have experience working with youth entrepreneurs. Supports should be relevant to the types of businesses that youth operate. read more
• Tailored entrepreneurship support for youth is offered in integrated packages.• Youth are informed about the range of options for receiving support.• Entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring initiatives refer youth entrepreneurs to appropriate sources of finance. Integrated packages of entrepreneurship supports can be more effective than ͞single shot͟ supports since they usually address multiple barriers. When designing and delivering integrated support packages for youth, it is important to separate decisions related to financial support from the training, coaching or mentoring support. read more
• Entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring, and business development services for youth entrepreneurs are delivered by agencies or organisations that have experience and expertise in working with youth. • Support is provided in a flexible manner, including different formats, locations and schedules. The delivery of entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring, and business development services for youth can be done either through mainstream channels or through approaches that are tailored for the targeted entrepreneurs. Tailored approaches are often more effective but are more costly. In delivering support to youth entrepreneurs, policy makers should partner with specialist youth organisations who have experience in working with youth. read more
• Entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring, and business development services are developed to meet the needs of different profiles of youth, e.g. school drop-outs, university graduates.• Outreach methods are adapted to different profiles of youth. • Different service delivery models are used to effectively support diverse profiles of youth. Tailored support programmes are typically more effective than generic measures because they are adapted to address specific needs, but they are more costly to develop and deliver. Youth entrepreneurs are not all alike in terms of their motivations and types of businesses that they will start. Support should be tailored to support a wide range of youth entrepreneurs. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent with strategic objectives. • Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that youth entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of youth entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported widely.• Deadweight loss and displacement effects are measured and reported.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and used to improve entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring and business development services. Monitoring and evaluation are important tools for managing public resources and understanding which initiatives have an impact and which do not. When assessing youth entrepreneurship training, coaching and mentoring initiatives, and business development services, collect key performance metrics by age. Moreover, evaluations should account for deadweight loss and displacement effects. Also, it is important to recognise that entrepreneurship is not suitable for all youth. read more
Finance
• Needs assessments are used to design policies and programmes that facilitate access to start-up finance for youth.• Youth and youth organisations are consulted to identify how policy support can address gaps in the availability and accessibility of finance for youth entrepreneurs. • The needs of different profiles of youth entrepreneurs are considered when designing and implementing policies and programmes that facilitate access to start-up finance.• Background research is conducted to provide a solid evidence-based for policy interventions.• Benchmarking and meta-evaluations are used when designing finance measures. A needs assessment should be undertaken at the beginning of the policy development cycle. When assessing the gaps in the availability and accessibility of finance for entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed), policy makers need to conduct research, surveys and consultations to understand the financing needs and assess how the current finance support measures are meeting entrepreneurs’ needs. Assessing how policy can address the start-up financing needs for youth entrepreneurs requires consideration for various profiles of youth (e.g. school drop-outs, university graduates), as well as their motivations and types of business activities. It is important to consult with youth entrepreneurs and representatives for the financial sector to identify and address gaps in the current suite of financing offers. read more
• A range of financial instruments is used to support youth in business start-up, e.g. loan guarantees, microfinance, risk capital.• Different profiles of youth entrepreneurs have access to start-up financing offers.• The private sector is involved in the selection of business ideas that receive financing.• Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms for youth are promoted and supported. • Only business ideas with a reasonable chance of success are supported.• Innovative business ideas (but not necessarily technology-related ideas) are favoured for support. • The scale of financing support offered is appropriate. Entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) face greater challenges in accessing start-up financing, often due to a lack of collateral and credit history. Therefore, it is common for policy makers to introduce tailored schemes to help entrepreneurs, loan guarantees, microfinance and a range of alternative instruments and markets. To facilitate access to start-up financing for youth entrepreneurs, policy makers should ensure that financing initiatives match the needs of youth entrepreneurs and are appropriate for the types of businesses that youth operate. read more
• A range of financial instruments is available to support the development and growth of youth-operated businesses, e.g. loan guarantees, microfinance, risk capital.• Different profiles of youth entrepreneurs can access financing for business development and growth. • Lending laws and financial sector regulations ensure sufficient investor protection and transparency on business projects.• The private sector is involved in the design or management of financing mechanisms.• The scale of financing support offered is appropriate. Business development and growth often require external financing to finance new equipment, staff and location. To support youth entrepreneurs in accessing finance for business development and growth, policy makers should educate youth on the available options and ensure that financing initiatives are suitable for youth entrepreneurs. read more
• Business angel networks dedicated to investing in young entrepreneurs are supported and encouraged, e.g. tax incentives, subsidised operating costs, public co-investment.• The private sector is involved in the design or management of financing mechanisms. • Training is offered to investors to teach them about the potential of youth, and to address potential biases in lending and investing decisions.• Training is offered to youth to improve investor readiness.• Public infrastructure to improve matchmaking between young entrepreneurs and investors exists. • The scale of support for risk capital measures and business angel networks is appropriate. High growth firms require large injections of capital to fuel the rapidly expanding business activities, often coming from business angel or venture capital investment. Very few entrepreneurs require this type of financing but it is possible for entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) to need this type of investment. For youth entrepreneurs, policy makers should educate them on the pros and cons of risk capital, and offer training on how to pitch business ideas to investors. read more
• Tailored entrepreneurship support for youth is offered in integrated packages.• Youth entrepreneurs receiving financial support are informed about the range of options for developing entrepreneurship, financial, and management skills. • There is an effective referral system that links youth who receive financial support to non-financial support measures, e.g. training, coaching and mentoring.• Financing measures also refer youth entrepreneurs to appropriate training, coaching and mentoring, business counselling. Business financing schemes that include entrepreneurship training, or coaching and mentoring are often more effective because they help equip entrepreneurs with the skills needed to effectively use the financing received. When supporting youth entrepreneurs with integrated support packages, policy makers should offer financial support incrementally and emphasise individual coaching, mentoring and business consultancy. Policy should also favour innovative ideas to minimise displacement effects. read more
• Business financing offers for youth entrepreneurs are delivered by agencies or organisations that have appropriate experience and expertise in working with youth.• Support measures are accessible to youth entrepreneurs.• A database of financing programmes and opportunities is available to youth entrepreneurs. For business financing support to make an impact, it is important that it reaches the targeted entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is imperative they the financing is delivered through the most appropriate channels. In delivering business financing to youth entrepreneurs, policy makers should ensure that youth entrepreneurs can interact with initiatives through online platforms, including submitting applications for finance. It is also effective to partner with specialist organisations to conduct outreach and/or deliver the support. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent with strategic objectives. • Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that youth entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of youth entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported widely.• Deadweight loss and displacement effects are measured and reported.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and used to improve start-up financing offers. Monitoring and evaluation are important tools for managing business financing schemes and understanding which initiatives have an impact and which do not. When assessing financing schemes that support youth entrepreneurs, it is important to assess the differential impact made by the financing initiative. This should include the impact of non-financial support, and account for deadweight loss and displacement effects. read more
Networks
• Needs assessments are used to design policies and programmes that support the development of entrepreneurship networks for youth.• Youth and youth organisations were consulted to identify how policy support can address gaps in youth entrepreneur networks. • The needs of different profiles of youth are considered when designing and implementing policies and programmes that build entrepreneurship networks.• Background research is conducted to provide a solid evidence-based for policy interventions.• Benchmarking and meta-evaluations are used when designing networking initiatives for youth entrepreneurs. A needs assessment should be undertaken at the beginning of the development of any inclusive entrepreneurship networking initiative. When assessing the gaps in the availability and accessibility of entrepreneurship networks for entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed), policy makers need to conduct research, surveys and consultations to understand how current networks are meeting entrepreneurs’ needs. Assessing how policy can address the needs for youth entrepreneurs, policy makers should identify existing youth entrepreneurship networks and work with youth entrepreneurs and youth organisations to understand the strengths and weakness of these. read more
• There is awareness about youth entrepreneurship among mainstream business networks.• There are public initiatives that link youth entrepreneurs with relevant mainstream business networks, organisations and associations to expand their networks.• Referrals to networks consider the needs, objectives and profile of the youth. Different profiles of entrepreneurs will likely operate different types of businesses, and will have different motivations and aspirations. These will all shape the role that entrepreneurship networks have in supporting their business. In supporting the development of youth entrepreneurship networks, it is important to use online platforms that connect youth entrepreneurs with each other and other entrepreneurs. read more
• Publicly-supported youth entrepreneurship networks raise awareness about available entrepreneurship supports.• Network members are referred to a wide range of entrepreneurship support services. Entrepreneurship networks can help individual entrepreneurs access a range of resources, including identifying professional business supports. To effectively connect entrepreneurs from under-represented and disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, youth, immigrants, the unemployed) with entrepreneurship support organisations through entrepreneurship networks, policy makes need to ensure that partnerships are built with support organisations. To connect youth entrepreneurs with professional support services through entrepreneurship networks, it is important for policy makers to build partnerships with support providers that have experience in delivering support to youth. read more
• A person is responsible for engaging network members; ideally a young person.• Network members feel a sense of ownership over the network and actively contribute to network activities.• There are regular opportunities for face-to-face and online interactions. • Newsletters are used to maintain regular contact with network members. To ensure that network members can maximise the benefits of being in the entrepreneurship network, active participation is needed. To ensure that youth entrepreneurship networks are active, it is important to organise regular opportunities to interact with other entrepreneurs and professionals, including through online platforms. read more
• Online platforms connect experiences youth entrepreneurs with potential entrepreneurs from similar backgrounds.• Appropriate matching mechanisms are used to connect youth entrepreneurs with more experience entrepreneurs.• Online platforms are used to expand the reach of the youth entrepreneurship networks.• Use of online networking platforms is monitored to verify take-up among youth. Online platforms allow entrepreneurship networks to have a greater reach than networks that rely on face-to-face interactions. They also offer greater flexibility for how members engage with each other. However, there is a danger that this flexibility will lead to a lower level of commitment to the network and therefore less engagement. To be effective, online networks need strong management and outreach to keep members engaged. While youth are likely accustomed to online platforms and events, it is important to seek more active engagement through face-to-face events. read more
• Ex ante evaluations are used to identify areas where policy action is needed, assess the consistency of proposed policy actions with ongoing interventions, identify linkages with other policy actions, and ensure that proposed actions are coherent with strategic objectives. • Monitoring and mid-term evaluations are undertaken to ensure that youth entrepreneurship schemes are on-track to reach their targets and objectives.• Schemes are adjusted to account for monitoring and mid-term evaluation results.• Ex post evaluations are undertaken to measure the impact of youth entrepreneurship policies and the results are reported widely.• Results of monitoring and evaluation are reported publicly and use to improve networking initiatives. Monitoring and evaluation are important tools for understanding the impact and effectiveness of inclusive entrepreneurship networks. When assessing youth entrepreneurship networks, it is important to assess the impact on youth entrepreneurs’ businesses, as well as estimating the impact on stimulating new entrepreneurship activities. Evaluation results should be used to adjust entrepreneurship networks to reflect the needs and uses of members. read more

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