At the beginning of September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make his first official visit to China and will also participate in the G20 Summit with the Heads of State of Hangzhou. As a Sherpa Delegate for this mission, I will personally have the honour of leading a Canadian delegation of 35 young entrepreneurs at the Summit.
The G20 in China comprises a twofold challenge, with issues of global dimensions:
- To breathe new life into the world's 20 major economies;
- To reinforce the G20's role of creating a governance platform with long-term vision.
Such long-term vision would encompass an innovative growth plan integrating the digital economy. It would also include a better understanding of the causes and consequences of the current economic downturn and gloominess worldwide. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), high unemployment rates among young people directly result from recessions in Argentina, Brazil and Russia. Even in developed countries that are not experiencing recessions, young people are more susceptible to situations of unemployment, and experience more poverty than their elders. We therefore need to treat young people as the priority.
I've been collaborating with the B20-G20 Employment Taskforce as well with the recommandations committe of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. In a context in which digital developments are omnipresent and innovation is essential, our work focuses on the necessary approach to enable young people to create their own jobs and ensure the growth of their own businesses. We will present the following main recommendations at the G20:
Acquiring entrepreneurial skills through education
1. We call upon G20 governments to increase funding for entrepreneurship education and support the teaching of entrepreneurial skills, including digital competencies, STEM education, venture creation and leadership. The education systems in all G20 countries should also encourage team-based, action-oriented agility learning as well as creativity among students.
2. Encourage and support the creation of university-based incubators and accelerators in partnership with the private sector, institutions and foundations.
University students in G20 countries should have the opportunity to start businesses during their studies with the support of and resources from their institution. We call upon G20 governments to increase by 50 per cent in five years the number of university students involved in entrepreneurship.
Starting and scaling a business
3. Drive the development of angel networks and alternative innovative funding platforms for young entrepreneurs through targeted incentives.
4. Implement structural and legal reforms to promote entrepreneurship by reducing costs, bureaucracy, business disruption, and legal gaps.
Unnecessary bureaucracy and the related barriers of excess costs, business disruption, and legal gaps continue to inhibit entrepreneurs across the G20. We call upon G20 governments to set a "5/20" target whereby entrepreneurs in every G20 country should, by 2020, be able to register a business in no more than five days.
5. Enable SMEs to scale through fiscal incentives for scale-ups and its investors.
After the start-up phase, SMEs need support in order to grow and create jobs. Cash flow is crucial during this phase. We call upon G20 countries to have a stable fiscal system and financial incentives that encourage and support SMEs as they scale up their operations.
6. Implement a policy to assist young entrepreneurs to do trade with others countries.
Technology has allowed even smaller entrepreneur-led businesses to expand into global markets, which can be a powerful driver of growth. We call upon G20 governments to adopt such inclusion of young entrepreneurs in trade missions, training of diplomats and trade commissioners in the reality of young entrepreneurs and creation of hub of co-working and incubator services for early-stage exporters in diplomatic missions.
7. Establish an electronic World Trade Platform (e-WTP) to simplify regulations and harmonization of customs barriers and tariffs to encourage global e-commerce.
We call upon G20 countries to encourage a public-private dialogue around eWTP to improve the global business environment for e-commerce, to boost the development of e-trade infrastructure and the adoption of best practices through the support of cross-border e-commerce hubs, and ensure that government procurement processes are made more open to small businesses owned by young entrepreneurs.
8. Establish a G20 Entrepreneur Visa to provide multilateral long-term visa and fast-track clearance for entrepreneurs within G20 countries.
As the digital economy and international trade continues to drive an increasing share of growth across the G20, we call upon G20 countries to promote the free flow of innovative talent across borders. We ask the G20 to set the year 2020 as a target for all G20 countries to have an entrepreneur visa program in place that facilitates mobility and job creation.
ICT Infrastructure development
9. Ensure access to reliable/low-cost high-speed digital infrastructure for start-ups and scale-up businesses.
To take advantage of the opportunities of digital disruption, young entrepreneurs need seamless connectivity with peers, industry and research. We call upon the G20 to set as a goal that all G20 countries will have a 5G network in place by 2022.
Innovation main driver of the digital economy
10. Build an innovation dialogue among G20 countries.
In this age of artificial intelligence, big data and cyber security, we call upon G20 governments to cooperate with business to build an open platform for all G20 countries to collaborate in these key areas. This platform could promote the freer flow of ideas across borders and help innovative entrepreneurs to create global networks across the G20 countries.
We are therefore presenting these recommendations to ensure the future of millions of young entrepreneurs in the G20 countries. We are convinced that solid partnerships and support for entrepreneurship in our societies will lead to the dynamism and growth required to renew economies and maintain societal development across the world. We also, more precisely, believe that immediate commitment of the G20 member countries in entrepreneurship and innovation send a positive message to our young entrepreneurs - our leaders of the future.
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