Earlier this year I was honoured to be asked to represent Australia at the G20 YEA (Young Entrepreneur Alliance) Summit in Beijing China. To think that the summit has already come and gone shows how quickly this year has passed.
What an awesome experience! I had been to China before, but not Beijing. It was exciting to visit a new city and (more importantly) be part of a conference full of young entrepreneurs from around the world.
So what is the G20 YEA? Well they describe themselves as:
“a collective of organizations across the jurisdictions of the G20 that promote youth entrepreneurship as a driver of economic renewal, job creation, innovation and social change. Alliance members represent more than 500,000 young entrepreneurs. Each year, the G20YEA brings together hundreds of the world’s top young entrepreneurs to share their ideas with the B20 and G20 leaders to catalyze global change. The G20YEA communiqué is a call to action for G20 governments to focus upon entrepreneurship, innovation and entrepreneurial education to address job creation and youth employment”.
I’ve always said that diversity is an important part of our team building at Devika, so it was exciting to embrace diversity at its fullest during the conference. Being an online retailer gone practical STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning evangelist, I was definitely interested in how the G20 Communiqué was going to prioritise education and social entrepreneurism (which I define as a business that is both ecological and profit sustainable).
There were a lot of great discussions around education, access to funding, gender equality, social acceptance, government support and policy making, the bubble in Silicon Valley, SMART entrepreneurism, machine learning, artificial intelligence, the need for mentoring, and digital skills in education sector.
At the end of the conference a collation of 10 priority recommendations are signed and published by all of the G20 YEA Presidents for the G20 Leaders to consider. From what was published (read the full document here) you can see that education for both children and current entrepreneurs was a significantly important issue, with two points of importance out of the ten. A fantastic result. However, regarding social entrepreneurism, I was disappointed to see this issue was not considered important enough to be listed on the communiqué. Devika is a meaningful business advocate which promotes driving value by equally prioritising people, the planet, pushing boundaries and profit. So you can see why I’d be disappointed by the exclusion of social entrepreneurism.
Despite this outcome, the important thing is that we as entrepreneurs or business leaders lead by example on whatever topics are true to our hearts, and that we keep pushing forward. Perseverance is key. We must lead by example not only for our teams, but so government leaders buy into how serious we are about issues, and how we are molding our businesses around the change we want to see in the world. That is why I can comfortably say that Devika is dedicated to playing our part in changing the education sector by delivering workshops with world-leading content aimed at both facilitating and empowering Australia’s future.
We have no idea what industries will look like in 20 years, so I feel that we owe it to the next generation of children and entrepreneurs to equip them with both the technical and strategic skills that are transferable to any industry. Therefore, the core of our workshops is placed on nurturing problem solving, practical implementation, experimenting and collaborating. Skills which are vital in countless industries.
In regards to the planet, I perceive the issue as if we are borrowing the environment from future generations. It’s up to us to drive ecologically sustainable businesses, businesses that are able to generate profit and still positively impact the environment. It’s important for us to implement ecological sustainable practices wherever we can, and find ways in which sustainability also improves a business’ profitability. For Devika this means moving towards paper-less operations. This not only has had positive environmental impacts, but minimizes how much we spend on printers, cartridges, paper and electricity. We’ve also implemented this strategy for many of other businesses.
All in all, the G20 YEA was an exciting conference with exciting people. I met some truly amazing young entrepreneurs that I’m sure will be in contact with regarding our learning program and co-working space. There’s nothing more exciting that expanding the Devika network. Most importantly, I walked away from the G20 YEA conference with new perspectives and a humbling experience.
Lastly, I would like to thank Enterprise Network for Young Australians (ENYA), Jeremy, and the whole team that attended. Thanks for the great experience.
Blog Entry by our founder, Ken Kencevski
Images from the trip
Ken Kencevski with Mexican Delegates
Ken Kencevski with South African Delegates