European Development Days 2013

Victor Soto , Thiago Millnitz

The 8th edition of European Development Days took place between the 26th and the 27th of November, gathering an impressive number of participants that came from all over the world. The working title was “A decent life for all by 2030 – Building a consensus for a new development agenda”. JADE, together with Brasil Júnior, were there to represent the Junior Enterprise movement and to tackle a burning issue: youth employment.

The whole event was an opportunity to hear Europe’s voice, as the major issues and objectives of development policy for the post 2015 period were debated. With Europe already a leader in the volume of its development assistance, the forum aimed to consolidate a unified approach to pressing issues and inspire thinking on international cooperation, in an open and inclusive manner.

During the first day, JADE was present in the Opening Plenary “A vision for the post-2015 Agenda”, containing a speech of the President of the European Commission, Mr. Josè Manuel Barroso. The day continued with our participation in various auditoriums about inclusive education system for all and finished with a gala dinner in the company of our co-panelists for the next day, UNIDO, the specialised agency of UN that deals with industrial development, and SOS Children’s Villages.

A high-level panel was organised by JADE, UNIDO and SOS Children’s Villages during the second day. The central point of discussion was the global issue of youth employment, but the focus was placed upon productive work for youth, thereby engaging groups of students and creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs. The panel was divided in two thematic blocks: “Reducing poverty through the creation of decent and durable employment & skills” and “Youth entrepreneurship and cooperation with the private sector”. Among the panelists, Victor Soto, Vice-President of JADE and Thiago Millnitz, Brazilian Ambassador and Global Public Affairs Manager, represented our network. Through their interventions, our representatives highlighted the Junior Enterprise Concept – how it develops entrepreneurial skills for life, makes the students more employable and better prepared to tackle the outside world, and gives courage in facing failures, perceiving those as part of the learning curve.

Next, you can see a selection of the most relevant quotes from the panel:

Victor Soto, Vice-President of JADE: ‘We want to build an entire entrepreneurial culture – not just creating businesses, but changing the mindset of a generation.’

Thiago Millnitz, Brazilian Ambassador and Global Public Affairs Manager, JADE: ‘Entrepreneurs need more support from their environment. They need to be able to fail, as failure is a normal step in the process towards success.’

Lamine Dhaoui, Director Business, Investment and Technology, UNIDO: ‘Creating sustainable growth requires the close cooperation of governments, international corporations and local communities, as well as youth themselves.’

Jeannette Weisschuh, Director of Education Initiatives, HP Sustainability and Social Innovation: ‘We need to make sure that education delivers 21st century skills such as creativity, collaboration, and technology – a critical enabler to a new type of world.’

Artak Chopuryan CEO and Co-founder, Instigate Mobile CJSC: ‘The hardest challenge in startups is building up core teams. We look for young and motivated people and support them using peer programmes and develop their communication skills.’

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Vice President, European Youth Forum: ‘The post-2015 framework needs to tackle the issue of under-employment. We also need to create a safety net for young people to make mistakes – without this, young people cannot take on risks such as starting a business.’

Many thanks go to UNIDO and SOS, our panel colleagues, and to all of you, our network, for the support and for giving us, through your work, amazing experiences to share. Together we grow!