IAYEA: Illuminating the Future
Nestled in the heart of southern China, Zhongshan, the hometown of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great pioneer of China’s democratic revolution, stands as a symbol of progress and innovation. From September 24 to 26, 2023, the first plenary session of the International Alliance of Young Entrepreneur Associations (IAYEA) was held in Zhongshan, illuminating the pivotal role of youth in shaping the global business landscape.
Around 60 leaders of youth entrepreneurial organizations from 29 countries and regions gathered in Zhongshan for the IAYEA’s first plenary session. Over three days, they engaged in thematic exchanges and economic and trade exploration activities, including visits to more than 10 industrial parks and companies spanning sectors such as new energy, biotechnology, intelligent manufacturing, lighting, and household appliances. These visits offered valuable insights into China’s ever-evolving business landscape and created opportunities for the exchange of knowledge.
Bridging Gaps and Fostering Global Business Collaborations
The inception of the IAYEA, sponsored by the China International Youth Exchange Center, emerged as a response to critical global challenges. It signifies a new era of collaboration, uniting the wisdom and strength of young entrepreneurs worldwide to promote economic growth and technological innovation.
Zhang Hua, director of the China International Youth Exchange Center, noted that the global economic downturn, the most severe since World War II, places an undeniable responsibility on contemporary young entrepreneurs to boost confidence and drive economic recovery. Additionally, as the global economy experiences shifts in globalization, it becomes imperative to ensure the stability and security of global industrial and supply chains. This necessity, he said, demands unparalleled cooperation among young entrepreneurs from various countries. The IAYEA serves as a platform to facilitate such collaboration, enabling entrepreneurs to work together to maintain the stability and openness of the world economy.
Deborah Melissa Bottreau, secretary general of the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council, expressed her enthusiasm as one of the IAYEA founding members. She highlighted the vision to foster synergistic collaboration among countries and regions within the IAYEA for the betterment of their economies and entrepreneurs. Together, members can innovate, exchange knowledge, develop technologies, and propel collective progress toward the digital economy.
Khagendra Acharya, president of the Nepal Entrepreneurs Society, underscores the paramount importance of regional cooperation in realizing common objectives such as poverty alleviation, robust infrastructure development, and streamlined trade facilitation. He observes that initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative underscore the unwavering commitment to regional cooperation and enhanced connectivity. He believes that collaborative efforts among nations hold the key to unlocking a myriad of economic opportunities while concurrently fortifying regional stability.
The event testified to the manifestation of these visionary ideals. During the proceedings, Abhishek Kumar, president of the Entrepreneurs Association of India, and his dedicated team embarked on visits to various manufacturers in the textile industry. Their active engagement culminated in the announcement of a pivotal agreement to import textile materials. Abhishek discerned the vast potential for diverse business collaborations and, with unwavering conviction, asserted that this alliance stands as a beacon illuminating the path for startups, innovations, and the sharing of intellectual property. He believes that this partnership is a gateway for young entrepreneurs hailing from smaller nations to glean from the rich expertise of larger economies such as India and China, ultimately fostering a more equitable global entrepreneurial landscape.
Apart from India, the series of business negotiations during the event also resulted in Zhongshan-based enterprises signing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with their counterparts from Myanmar, Malaysia, South Africa, and Guinea. These agreements spanned various sectors, including spices, cosmetics, and leather goods, exemplifying the IAYEA’s commitment to fostering international cooperation and mutual growth.
Empowering Youth for a Brighter Future
Building on the importance of exchange programs, the IAYEA also plays a positive role in uniting young entrepreneurs, facilitating the cultivation of mutual comprehension and cooperation.
In her role as the president of the African Youth Entrepreneurs Association, Samiya Abdulkadir Godu, also president of the Ethiopian Youth Entrepreneurs Association, is committed to becoming an influential advocate for youth empowerment on a global scale. She stressed the significance of active youth participation through institutional channels at both national and continental levels. She pointed out that the IAYEA provide a platform for sharing experiences, seeking support, nurturing partnerships, and championing their cause.
Joseph Mramba, founder and executive director of the Tanzanian Youth Investors Association, echoed the sentiment for young entrepreneurs to benefit from the exchange of ideas and practices among countries. By fostering collaboration across borders, he said, the IAYEA is creating a pathway for young entrepreneurs to engage in fruitful multilateral and bilateral cooperation, ultimately contributing to a more balanced and dynamic global entrepreneurial landscape.
Rommel Gerodias, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Young Entrepreneurs Association, was particularly impressed by the potential network that the IAYEA can create in fostering cooperation not only among ASEAN countries but also with other regions worldwide. He views the IAYEA’s development as a long-term endeavor, aiming to build stronger cooperation between young entrepreneurs globally, including those from the Philippines and China. This collaboration among young entrepreneurs, he said, lays the foundation for easier cooperation when they become future business leaders of their respective nations.