07 March 2022
London Youth takes part in regular sessions with a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups of relevance to the youth sector. At the end of February we invited one of our members Lola Owalabi from Proudtobeme to participate in the APPG for Youth Affairs panel discussion on:
“How can the Government support young people to start their own businesses?”
The session was chaired by Jo Gideon, MP and co-chaired by Munira Maal, a young person from the British Youth Council
The full panel comprised:
- James Lo, British Youth Council CEC Programme
- Fillipo Pollaro, Federation for Small Businesses
- Lola Owolabi, Transformational Coach Founder and Director of Proudtobeme
The MP set out some framing remarks. These were around challenging the assumptions that academic qualifications are the best pathway to success in building a business: young people need to be guided and encouraged to build some of the core skills that will enable them to become entrepreneurs.
The rest of the session was led by the panel and the young people who attended.
The panel were united in their views that a partnership approach is required between government, business and young people. Young people need the guidance and signposting to the opportunities that government agencies can provide. But they also need the opportunity to develop the soft skills, self-esteem and confidence alongside practical financial literacy skills. These are the cornerstones of starting your own business.
London youth also highlighted the profile of young Londoners who are ethnically diverse, and the significantly greater barriers that many experience to find employment, or start their own businesses.
A summary of the key points that were raised by the panel and by the young people who attended are below.
- Generation Z is the most entrepreneurial of all. They must be empowered to succeed. One in three want to start their own business but at present, our education system applies a 20th Century education to 21st Century opportunities and does not include the soft skills to lead, and the technical skills to build new products.
- The pandemic has made people hesitant to start a business, but 85% of jobs after the last recession were created by small businesses. A better tax system and better regulatory frameworks to entice the mind of entrepreneurs.
- At an education level, there is a focus on university without sufficient weight and consideration of other routes to employment: apprenticeships for skills and financial education is vital to ensure that young people have the skills and the knowledge they need.
- Young people are flexible, creative, and innovative. We should be encouraging side hustles, as the traditional world of work where one person works for just one organisation does not exist anymore.
- Financial Literacy and Self Esteem are key skills, subjects that are not taught in schools are vital to empower young people to explore routes to employment that aren’t the same traditional routes.
FTSE 100 companies, the Government, youth organisations and educational institutions need to work together to ensure that young people can get jobs and opportunities and actively encourage the young to feel empowered.
Many of these themes are also explored in London Youth’s Employability Network. You can sign up to our upcoming networks here >