Around the world, youth unemployment represents a significant challenge to countries’ economic and social prosperity. According to the World Economic Forum, youth comprise 40 percent of the world’s unemployed. Globally, the youth unemployment rate is more than double that of adult unemployment: 12.6 percent for youth compared to 4.5 percent for adults. On a personal level, the story of Mohammed Bouazizi—the Tunisian fruit vendor whose tragic death sparked the Arab spring—continues to resonate with people around the world struggling to find economic opportunity.
Many factors contribute to the challenging economic landscape confronting young jobseekers, including lack of quality education, the global economic crisis, resource shortages, and more. One underlying factor, however, is that the public sector—traditionally a primary engine of employment in many countries—is unable to keep up with demand. Instead, young people endure chronic unemployment or underemployment, often trapped in temporary or low-productivity jobs.
One important solution to these complex issues is to build young people’s entrepreneurial capacity. Entrepreneurship provides much needed alternatives for those in need of work, while also reinvigorating countries’ economies through job creation. Entrepreneurship can lead young people to become more active members of their communities, invested in creating a better and more innovative environment for their business.