The G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance Summit: Global opportunities for you
This guest blog post is provided by Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to fueling young enterprise in Canada through its financing, mentoring and resources.
We live in an increasingly global world — and Canada's continued growth and prosperity depends on our willingness to embrace international markets. At Futurpreneur Canada, we know how important it is for young entrepreneurs to get their feet wet globally and we're pleased to facilitate international opportunities for young entrepreneurs through the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance (G20 YEA). If you're a young entrepreneur looking to broaden your reach, this might be an ideal opportunity for you.
The G20 YEA is a collective of organizations across G20 countries that work to promote and advance entrepreneurship. The Alliance represents more than 500,000 young entrepreneurs across the G20 countries, with over 500 of them coming together annually for the G20 YEA Summit. Canada plays a pivotal role in the G20 YEA and to date, 100 young Canadian entrepreneurs have represented Canada at the annual Summits.
Canada's 2016 delegation was our largest to date and in September 2016, 32 of Canada's best and brightest young entrepreneurs headed to China for the G20 YEA Summit in Beijing. Over two weeks of activities, including meetings with Chinese businesses, incubator and accelerator visits, and meetings with senior Canadian leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Bill Morneau, the delegation had a unique opportunity to influence policy and advance its businesses. The members of the group also got a taste of the Chinese market; with China's exploding middle class and appetite for things that are Canadian-made, they learned first-hand just how much opportunity is out there for Canadian businesses.
For Daniel Rodic, two-time G20 YEA delegate and owner of Exact Media, a company reinventing direct mail by pairing consumer samples with ecommerce purchases, the G20 YEA provided a unique opportunity to think global. Daniel is no stranger to growth; Exact Media has a network of 140 million consumers and, by its 90-day mark, had generated roughly $1 million in sales. After a successful expansion to the United States and the development of a network of retailers in the United Kingdom, Daniel's appetite to explore the potential of other markets is greater than ever before.
“Attending the G20 Summit in Beijing helped accelerate my personal knowledge of the business environment in China,” he expressed. “By building some early connections and local allies in the city, it helped us refine our international expansion plans and better predict the amount of work that's required to be successful in China.”
Luc Bohunicky, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Manitoba-based software company, Consultica, felt a similar boost after attending the G20 YEA Summit in Turkey the year before. While in Istanbul, Luc met multiple new advisors who have provided significant input on his company's roadmap. “The intangible values of connections, contacts, knowledge and perspective are almost as good as dollars for me,” he expressed.
But for so many of the delegates, it's not just the opportunity to make international connections that makes the G20 YEA such a unique experience. It's the opportunity to become part of a cross-Canada network of champions for youth entrepreneurship, representing the interests of young entrepreneurs, proposing solutions and influencing policy for generations to come.
To Jesse Guth, first-time G20 YEA delegate in 2016 and owner of Avid Apparel, a full service end-to-end apparel company, he felt the most unique thing about the G20 YEA is that it's a platform for entrepreneurs to raise their voices. Each year, the G20 YEA issues a communiqué that is a call to action for G20 governments to focus upon entrepreneurship as a driver of economic growth, innovation and social change.
“At a roundtable in Shanghai with Canada's B20 leader, we were able to have candid conversations with senior Canadian leaders about entrepreneurship and international growth,” Jesse said. “It's these kinds of conversations that help us to influence policy, share solutions and work together to keep youth entrepreneurship squarely on the radar of G20 leaders.”
So what's next? This year's 2017 Summit will be in Berlin, Germany from June 15-17, 2017. Over four action-packed days, including optional pre-summit activities, 25 young entrepreneurs from across Canada will participate in a variety of business-building, policy-making and networking activities.
Futurpreneur Canada is looking for entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39 who have been in business for at least two years and are leaders in their entrepreneurship ecosystem. If you're a young Canadian entrepreneur with an appetite for international growth and a passion to become an ambassador for entrepreneurship internationally and at home, we encourage you to apply here until February 15, 2017.