Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video remarks to the Junior Achievement Europe Youth Entrepreneurship Competition, in New York today:
I congratulate Junior Achievement Europe and Portugal for convening this important event bringing together young entrepreneurs from across Europe. Our world has been fundamentally changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and young people are feeling the effects of these disruptions as acutely as any other group.
Even before COVID-19, youth entrepreneurs had long shown determination and resilience in facing enormous challenges. There are countless examples of youth using their innovation, creativity and problem-solving skills to turn challenges into new business opportunities.
Entrepreneurial skills will be crucial in meeting the tests of the present moment and recovering better for the future. Indeed, now is the time for new thinking and novel approaches. This crisis offers us an opportunity to reframe traditional business models, and to reset the business agenda by building the capabilities and systems that will foster breakthrough innovations.
Young entrepreneurs, in particular, can leverage new ideas and technologies to address the climate crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We need new voices in leadership — and we absolutely must expand the ranks and role of young women entrepreneurs and dismantle the obstacles to financing that get in their way.
And we need new mindsets that define success not solely by quarterly returns, but by bringing long-term value to society and positioning their companies in a way that is fit for the future.
The theme of your gathering says it all: “You Make the World Change!” In that spirit, I wish you the best for a successful event.