Inclusive trade: Youth and Trade initiative
A COMPETITIVE FORCE FOR THE FUTURE
Supporting youth to acquire the necessary skills and opportunities needed to reach their potential is fundamental for their own livelihoods and wellbeing. It is also essential for achieving the broader sustainable development goals, unlocking young people’s energy and creativity for development, peace and security.
Over the next four years, ITC will support diverse groups of youth, including vulnerable populations. ITC will work with policy makers, BSOs, finance providers and other partners to nurture a supportive ecosystem for young entrepreneurs, building the knowledge, skills, and networks that young people need to succeed.
Youth is one of the five impact areas of ITC’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, identified as being critical to delivering an inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future.
Youth and Trade’s Vision for 2025 is:
1. ITC is recognised as an agenda-setter on empowering youth to trade
2. Through ITC support, BSOs, market partners and financial institutions develop world-class youth in trade programmes
3. Youth trade more and on better terms, hold more decent jobs, and are a stronger voice in trade
4. ITC is a trusted and effective partner to deliver on the A4T/ youth agenda
5. ITC has an effective coordinated response to addressing the trade and youth challenge
Empowering youth through trade
ITC’s Youth and Trade Programme supports young people and youth-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises The programme takes a market-led approach to building up youth entrepreneurship and employability skills, and plays a key role in the development of conducive entrepreneurial environments by equipping young people with the resources, skills and networks they need to engage in entrepreneurship or find meaningful employment.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the nexus between youth and trade. With SMEs accounting for most jobs in developing countries, they are well placed to hire local youth and provide on-the-job training. In addition, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are often established by youths taking the initiative to start their own business.
Our Youth and Trade Programme focuses on unlocking the developing potential of youth entrepreneurs by working along four pillars of intervention seen below.
Sport for Development
ITC's Sport for Development initiative uses sports to foster the socio-economic inclusion and development of youth, as well as develop the skills that are essential for gaining and sustaining employment.
The Kick for Trade curriculum has two modules: employability and entrepreneurship. Both focus on key life skills to succeed in the labour markets such as self-confidence, communication, analysing and solving problems, teamwork, discipline or adaptability.
The Ye! Community provides a global network for youth. To date the community is home to more than 30,000 members from 178 countries through the online platform and its in-person, offline Ye! Chapters. With Ye! Community, youth entrepreneurs have access to events, opportunities, tools, country guides, mentors, and e-learning content. Ye! Community supports young entrepreneurs to overcome barriers to accessing networks, expertise and information.
The Youth and Trade Programme works with organizations on the ground such as hubs, incubators, accelerators, trade promotion organizations, government ministries, and youth networks to enhance their programmes directed at youth. ITC engages directly with ecosystem enablers to enhance their services through training and providing access to finance, de-risking the investment ecosystem. By improving the services that local organizations provide and supporting them to collect age-disaggregated data, ITC’s Youth and Trade Programme ensures that youth entrepreneurs are supported at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey and are working in ecosystems adapted to their business and personal growth.
Working with corporations, mature small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and investors, the Youth and Trade Programme strengthens the links between youth-led businesses and companies that can support them to scale their growth, provide services or products at a discount, and/or further embed them into global value chains. ITC works to create these links between youth entrepreneurs in the global south as well as ITC’s international network.
Critical to ITC’s work on youth is empowering and elevating their voices on the global stage. Through its vast network of partners and the Ye! Community, ITC directly connects with the needs of youth, and builds its projects and programmes with youth inputs. ITC empowers youth voices by empowering youth inclusion in key spaces and providing visibility and exposure for youth agents of change through the Ye! Community and opportunities with partners around the globe.