Creative Solutions to Tackle Youth Unemployment

Last week, Solome Tibebu ’12 represented the United States as a delegate at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit in Sydney, Australia, where over 400 young entrepreneurs worldwide came together to solve some of our world’s most challenging economic and social issues related to entrepreneurship.

The summit focused on youth unemployment, a stifling global issue as some G20 countries’ youth unemployment rates are over 40%, according to G20YEA Chair Jeremy Liddle. The goal was to discuss the problems, solutions and finally actions to reduce youth unemployment below 10% by 2020, as well as establish youth entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment in the post 2015 United Nations Millennium Development Goals through a focus on job creation, youth employment and growth.

"As I reflect on the past week, I was amazed to see what the power of bringing together young entrepreneurs—those who are in the trenches—could do to come up with the most of course creative solutions to tackle youth unemployment," said Tibebu.

For Tibebu, St. Thomas has been at the forefront of experiential learning in entrepreneurship. While a student, she participated in as many UST business programs as she could. Her education influenced her recommendations to fellow delegates at the summit:

Reflecting back on my four years at The Schulze School, it was clear what a difference actual experiential learning can make beyond just the textbooks. Much of our degree included real case studies from successful alumni and required us to take action and critical thinking in order to complete the assignments.

Outside of the degree program is where St. Thomas really stood above the rest, however: with very active student clubs like Practicing Entrepreneurs and E-Society, our community of students and faculty was a close one that strove to get students to think about starting businesses and receive the support they needed before, during and after launch. These programs have helped launched hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses by students that would otherwise not have been so, including mine.

Naturally, I was moved to recommend experiential learning as a means to spurring entrepreneurial activity among young adults in the U.S., and it was incredibly encouraging to see that our recommendations were being taken seriously by international political leaders as well as leaders from some of the largest business and entrepreneurial organizations in the U.S. I was somewhat hesitant about the difference a bunch of entrepreneurs could actually make prior to the summit, but after the 2014 G20 YEA I have been more than pleasantly surprised.

Read more about Tibebu's experience and the eight ways to reduce youth unemployment and revitalize the global economy that she and the summit attendees identified and submitted it to G20 political leaders and global stakeholders.