YBI Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit

The Youth Business International (YBI) Global Youth Summit is all about shining a light on the inspiring young people from across its membership network and showcasing how their businesses are addressing global issues like hunger and climate change, driving forward the green economy and plugging gaps in social welfare.

This year’s summit took place in The Hague last week across 18 – 20 October and Hatch’s Chief Executive Dirk Bischof was pleased to attend, alongside our Head of Corporate Partnerships Deryl Thatcher. 

Hatch is incredibly proud to be YBI’s UK member, and this was such a valuable opportunity to engage more with an international community of organisations, all working towards the same goal of building a better world through entrepreneurship.

Opinion Spotlight: Reflections from Hatch Chief Executive

We had the pleasure to attend Youth Business International’s Global 2022 Summit in The Hague from Monday – Thursday.

It truly felt like the whole world had come together in one space as we had people from all continents and from many more countries than I could remember. What I do remember is the feeling I arrived with.

I was excited to be part of an international community again, after almost 10-years where I focused exclusively on work in the UK, mainly because we needed to be really laser-focused on delivering impact to founders, whilst building a sustainable and innovative organisation that can stand the test of time.

This meant I had to let go of all my international work when founding Hatch in 2013.

I was always sad about this as I really enjoyed sharing our work and what we do with others, learning from others about their work, their methodologies to deliver impact and ultimately sharing best practices across a range of topics. This was the benefit of international work that I always valued, alongside meeting people from different cultures, social and economic backgrounds, visiting different places across Europe (15+ countries between 2004 – 2013) and shaping my understanding of what unites us around common challenges.

My excitement to be at an international conference was well-supported by the excellent organisation of the event by the YBI team and hosting partners. I’ve been to Holland many times, often for work as we had Dutch partners but also to visit friends and recently also former colleagues, who I kept in touch with. The Hague struck me as a very cultured, well-off, tidy and culturally diverse city. Way fewer tourists than Amsterdam but just as many bikes.

We arrived by Eurostar, minding our CO2 emissions when travelling internationally, walking to our hotel once we arrived in The Hague. We stayed close to the venue, a Dutch museum of picture and sound (Beeld & Geluid), which made for an excellent venue for a truly diverse international audience.

After dumping our bags, we immediately stumbled into the Japanese delegation at the hotel. We already spoke a few times earlier in the year as we started to reach out to YBI members to understand their work better. The Japanese delegation came from ETIC, an enterprise support organisation in Japan focusing on social entrepreneurs and young founders.

They’ve been around for 30 years and have recently started exploring self-management across the organisation, something we’re very interested in too. We decided to meet everyone else at the Irish Pub (imagine droves of people from all over the world descending onto a local Irish pub in The Hague). That was fun and we finally met the organisers, many more partners and supporters. What a great welcome and first day-experience.

Over the coming days we would participate in a number of workshops, panel discussions, networking events and meetings that really brought the work of YBI and its partners to life. Youth entrepreneurship is something I am really passionate about as Hatch started as a youth enterprise support programme, back in the days. Hatch has supported young founders from the get-go because we deeply believe in the power of entrepreneurship and teaching people as early on in their careers as possible.

I already delivered youth enterprise programmes in my time before Hatch because then, I still was a ‘young entrepreneur’, someone under the age of 35. Having been a young entrepreneur myself at some point I understand how critical the support by the various member organisations is to help prospective founders overcome the many barriers and challenges that exist when starting a business or social enterprise.

Yes, starting a business can be very lonely, you often don’t have the right (business) skills, lack access to support and access to networks, figuring out how to build a business whilst delivering value to customers through a product or service isn’t everyone’s cuppa either.

As such, coming together with not just a few, but so many enterprise support organisations from across the world was beyond inspirational, it felt relevant, opportune and somehow ‘just right’, after a nearly 10-year hiatus.

Over the few days we spent together, we also started shaping what some of the work would look like across the (European) members, something I’m especially happy about as the UK feels very isolated now from our friends in Europe, since brexiting the EU.

Building bridges to other nations is so important as international dialogue is critical in an ever-more connected world. We’ve seen what happens when countries need to cooperate to manage one crisis after another. We’ve had the COVID19 pandemic, we still have the ongoing war in Ukraine, all of which required international collaboration.

Being back in the room with many partners from across the Channel, enabled a greater understanding of their work, where they see trends in youth entrepreneurship going, how delivery methods have changed with increased digitisation and how employment trends are shaping the way we deliver work, with hybrid working being standardised across most organisations.

My colleague Deryl got really involved in the conference hosting day two, together with Naho from Japan. They’re both born entertainers and MCs and they did a brilliant job at engaging the audience of over 150 people.

Hatch likes to get ‘stuck-in’ and contribute and collaborate, it’s one of our core values to connect people and opportunities to each other. Being a passive observer versus being an active participant is a choice many countries, companies and individuals make all the time.

Being an active participant means you put yourself out there, contributing insights, clarifying points, steering conversations and expressing opinions. This is necessary when engaging in international dialogue as there are more barriers than just those facing young entrepreneurs to overcome. Cultural understanding and clarifying is necessary and that can only happen through an active exchange of concepts and ideas.

Creating shared meaning is a hallmark of ensuring that understanding between different parties can be facilitated. As such, both Deryl and myself put ourselves ‘out there’, engaging with as many people as we could across the four days, which was reciprocated pretty much by everyone else too. This was something that isn’t necessarily ‘a given’, as conferences can be quite stale and boring. This one was the total opposite. 

We also got to engage with some of our partners such as Google.org, Standard Chartered and Accenture. They are YBI and YBI ecosystem supporters and important partners in our joined-up efforts to deliver enterprise support programmes across the various continents and countries not only to thousands of founders but to hundreds of thousands of founders.

That is something that is only possible through connected, aligned networks with strong, resilient and well-placed organisations in each of the countries.

To build-up, maintain and grow such networks is never easy and I am very happy to be part of YBI who’s doing an amazing job of bringing so many people and organisations together. 

Here’s a big shout-out and thank you to the whole team at YBI, the hosting partners and a big thank you also to all the amazing international partners and members we were able to meet. Here’s to more international collaboration!

Dirk Bischof
CEO Hatch

Here’s a quick clip of Deryl opening up day two of the summit as master of ceremonies alongside Naho Kawashima. It was great for Hatch to have such an active role in the event, and we were really pleased to have been asked. Deryl is not only a great advocate for Hatch, but also for entrepreneurship itself, and the power it has to transform lives and communities.

My favourite part was networking with people who run enterprise support organisations across the world and hearing how young people are making such an impact in their communities. I'm still just buzzing.

Deryl Thatcher

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