Youth and innovation: Leading change in communities
By Tatiana Antonelli Abella Founder and Managing Director, Goumbook in the UAE
Creating a culture of innovation, especially in the youth sector, is a significant undertaking vital to the growth and development of any nation. Innovation plays a pivotal role in their empowerment, providing them with the much-needed support for the development of job-generating projects and ideas that can help champion change in their respective communities.
The concept of innovation is at the centre of youth-focused entrepreneurial strategy, with emphasis on digital platforms, that many governments have been pushing for the empowerment of the sector. This is especially important as more and more young people today are engaging in a wide range of entrepreneurial activities across industries thanks to the availability of numerous advanced digital tools.
An industry report showed that approximately “54 percent of millennials have either started a business or want to start a business in the future.” This opens up a varied of opportunities and it is in the best interest of governments to provide a conducive entrepreneurial ecosystem for them to grow and thrive.
With their natural proficiency in digital platforms, entrepreneurial mindset and spirit, and love for innovation, the young generation of today is in a strong position to play a huge part in the global sustainability movement and other key initiatives with immense positive social impact. This is the time to engage them, listen to, and seriously consider their innovative ideas that promote unique and different approaches to realise our sustainable development goals. Even the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes how the participation of the young is critical to the success of the sustainability advocacy.
The World Benchmarking Alliance describes the young people as “the guardians of the planet’s future,” pointing out that they not only have “a strong ability to drive change” but, as a segment that is affected the most by changes in their surroundings, they have the right to express their views across all available platforms and, more importantly, be “genuinely heard”. No doubt about it. They are more interested in and capable of saving the planet, which they will eventually lead in the future, than we give them credit for.
In the UAE, the youth are empowered through various government-led programs that allow them to gain the latest knowledge and enhance their critical skills, including leadership skills, to be at par with their counterparts worldwide.
The UAE Government has also been collaborating with different institutions to help guarantee the success of the programs and in recognition that it takes the participation of various multidisciplinary organisations, including universities, to provide the young people with an all-encompassing environment where they can put forth their ideas and proposals. Full of idealism, the youth segment is fully capable of proposing ideas that are geared towards positively affecting and improving the social, environmental, and economic aspects of local society.
Under the programs, different kinds of support are extended to the youth - from technical knowledge to mentoring to financial - to help turn their dreams into a reality. Additionally, we provide a platform where they can network with their like-minded peers and share ideas and experiences with them at the local, regional, and global levels. Such interaction and networking are also critical to their training and development as innovators and effective environmental advocates.
The role of the youth in a nation’s socio-economic development and sustainable development is wide and immense. As future leaders, the young innovators and entrepreneurs are influential drivers of positive transformations within our society. And for that, they deserve all the support that they can get. To learn more about the topic, let’s meet at the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) 2019, which will take place on October 20th and 21st at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.