The heads of states of the G20 countries meet biannually at the G20 Leaders Summit. The 2010 G20 Summit is the fourth summit of the Group of Twenty Major Economies and it took place in Toronto, Canada on June 26–27, 2010.
The Toronto Summit was much like any other, security was high, protesters were making their voice heard, there were lots of friendly chats and hand shakes on camera and heavy negotiations behind the scenes. However there was one major difference. For the first time ever at a G20 summit the voice of the young entrepreneur was being heard and listened to.
The IoD and Enterprise UK lead a delegation of three highly successful and award winning UK entrepreneurs to the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (G20YES). The three-day summit provided a unique forum for young entrepreneurs (ages 20-45) and those organisations representing entrepreneurs, from G20 countries to meet, exchange ideas and to establish international networks and partnerships that will drive sustainable global economic growth.
The aim of the two-day Summit was to impact the G20 by presenting a declaration representing the voice of all 20 countries to maximize the economic potential of young entrepreneurs in their respective economies. The Summit was recognised by the Canadian federal government as an official G20 event, one of only three official events recognised. The G20YES communiqué, containing the declarations, was presented to those leading discussion at the B20 and in turn to the G20 Leaders.
So, what was the UK’s role? UK was there to help develop the recommendations and ensure that our own experiences and contribution to youth entrepreneurship could be recognised. We regarded the Summit as a great opportunity to secure the role of youth entrepreneurship in the rebuilding of our economy and wanted to ensure that the UK’s leadership role was at the heart of future international action.
Each participating country brought a President and Lead Sherpa to do the formal work of negotiating the communiqué, and a delegation of young entrepreneurs. The UK’s delegation included a President (myself), a Lead Sherpa (Peter Grigg, Head of Policy and Research at Enterprise UK) and three young entrepreneurs:
1. Nathaniel Peat, the entrepreneur behind award winning business, The Safety Box. Nathananiel was the winner of the 2009 Enterprising Young Brits competition and an Enterprise UK ambassador. In 2009 he appeared on the BBC’s The Last Millionaire.
2. Waqas Baggia, is an award winning entrepreneur and co-founder of Kreative Iron, a digital media company based in the West Midlands that provides graphics & web design, animation, and game development.
3. Philip Kerr, the Managing Director of Innovas Consulting Ltd – a research company that helps national and regional government formulate and evaluate policy. Their product Enterprise Catalyst provides an innovative way to evaluate the impact of enterprise education. Philip is an Enterprise UK ambassador in the North West.
Was it a success? The simple answer is a resounding Yes. The young entrepreneurs and organisations that support them were able to agree on a pragmatic set of actions for G20 countries to implement that will support our future economies. The summit also highlighted the critical role that entrepreneurs play in our economies round the world, from job creation to solving some of the toughest challengers facing mankind. You can view the full communiqué by click here.
We can be proud that the UK had a strong influence on the Summit. In terms of influencing the final communiqué we helped to make it more specific on key areas, we also ensured that it reflected more urgency and that it didn’t extenuate myths about entrepreneurs. More generally, the UK delegation played a key role in keeping a level of inspiration throughout talks when they threatened to get unnecessarily bogged down on less important issues, and also in helping navigate a clear remit and actions for the group moving forward.
The UK has a rich heritage producing some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and inventions that have changed the world in which we live. The UK, through the IoD and Enterprise UK, can and will play a leading role in supporting and enhancing global entrepreneurialism, ensuring the voice of the young entrepreneur is not only heard and listened to but we will continue to demonstrate on the global stage how entrepreneurship can provide solutions to some of our deepest economic and social problems.