On 11 and 12 December 2018, the Division for Inclusive Social Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations will organize an Expert Group Meeting at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York under the theme Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda.
Social entrepreneurship can be defined as a form of entrepreneurship which predominantly focuses on social benefits rather than solely financial ones, and which seeks to address societal, cultural or environmental issues, often in an innovative manner. Young people’s desire to “do good” socially while they “do well” economically is translating into a rise in youth social entrepreneurship in several regions of the world.
This Expert Group Meeting will bring together experts and representatives from academia, United Nations entities, and intergovernmental organizations as well as young social entrepreneurs, to discuss the following overarching questions: How do young social entrepreneurs support socio-economic advancement, help vulnerable groups access opportunities and ultimately contribute to system change? What is needed for youth social entrepreneurship to be an effective tool towards the 2030 Agenda? How can governments put in place enabling ecosystems for youth social entrepreneurship to significantly help advance the 2030 Agenda?
The results of this meeting will support the preparation of the 2019 World Youth Report on the same theme. While the scope of the Expert Group Meeting and the World Youth Report is global, special attention will be given to developing country contexts.
The selection of this theme for the Expert Group Meeting and the World Youth Report was done in light of both youth employment and the reduction of inequalities representing top priorities for the global community and governments across the globe. As part of the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goal 8, entitled Decent Work and Economic Growth, includes targets pertaining to young people and entrepreneurship. SDG 10 on Reducing Inequalities, calls for the development of economic and social policies clearly considering and addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.
Social enterprises, with their hybrid goal of being financially effective and socially transformative, are particularly apt at generating locally-driven responses to a wide array of issues hindering collective social progress and economic development, especially for vulnerable groups. Social enterprises therefore bring a unique contribution to achieving SDG 8 and SDG 10. And when they are led by young people, they also contribute to youth development and empowerment. Given that globally, “the number of youth aged 15-24 years is projected to increase by 8 per cent over the next 15 years, from nearly 1.2 billion in 2015 to close to 1.3 billion in 2030 ”, solutions addressing challenges faced young people, such as employment and inclusion, will produce a massive positive ripple effect across the entire population. And this is even more true for Africa as it is the region with the “largest projected relative growth in the number of youth, with the number aged 15-24 years expected to increase by 44 per cent between 2015 and 2030 ”.