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Unlocking the Potential of Youth Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

From Subsistence to Performance

image of Unlocking the Potential of Youth Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

Demographic pressure and the youth bulge in the developing world pose a major employment challenge. This situation is exacerbated by insufficient job creation, scarce formal wage employment opportunities and vulnerability in the workplace. For these reasons, fostering youth entrepreneurship has gained importance in the global and national development policy agenda. This report aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on the role of youth entrepreneurship in generating employment in developing countries. It is based on the analysis of mixed labour force and enterprise surveys conducted in Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Peru and Viet Nam, as well as evidence on the impact of entrepreneurship programmes. This report’s findings add to the global debate on youth entrepreneurship in three important ways. First, it constitutes an unprecedented effort to capture the real situations and multiple faces of young entrepreneurs in selected developing countries. Second, it provides new empirical evidence on the determinants of youth entrepreneurial performance. Third, it proposes a policy roadmap based on lessons learned from recent meta-analyses of the effectiveness of entrepreneurship programmes.

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Executive summary

OECD Development Centre

For many young people in the developing world, entrepreneurial activity is the sole entry point into the labour market and the only way out of poverty. Yet only a tiny portion of youth entrepreneurs record high performance in terms of profits and job creation. In this context, how much hope should policy makers place on entrepreneurship programmes as a solution to the youth employment challenge in developing countries?

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