Youth Voices: Youth-Led Social Entrepreneurship in East Africa and the Middle East

We’re pleased to launch the newest report from DOT’s Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YouthLAB). 

The rise of social entrepreneurship is changing the nature of work and the face of development in countries around the world. This research, conducted by DOT’s YouthLAB, demonstrates that – with ecosystems of support, mindsets, digital skills, and social enterprise encouragement – youth are delivering economic and social impact in their communities. 

This report provides insights into how youth in Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are harnessing opportunities and navigating their social innovation journeys, and presents the struggles and triumphs of 101 youth social entrepreneurs.

The Youth Voices Report highlights the three main findings that emerged from the research:

  1. There are opportunities to thrive as a social entrepreneur. The existence of social challenges is a catalyst for social entrepreneurship, and a passion to solve a challenge is often at the root of a young person’s decision to embark on a social entrepreneurship journey.
  2. Digital technologies are important tools for many young entrepreneurs. Often the more digitally savvy and connected youth have greater success in growing and scaling their enterprise. They are able to use online marketing to build trust and find new customers. Gaps in locally available training and networking can also be addressed by leveraging online platforms and courses.

  3. The demand for support is greater than the current supply of resources. Young social entrepreneurs need a continuum of support from ideation to scale; training to develop sustainable business models; and access to networks throughout the different stages of the enterprise lifecycle. Supporting organizations can play an enabling role to facilitate youth social entrepreneurship by strengthening and investing in service providers that can offer long-term and targeted support to young entrepreneurs.

Read the full Youth Voices Report here.

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