Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities

Stand by Youth



How businesses can create opportunities for youth in the post-COVID world

The Covid-19 crisis has brought an entire generation to a halt. It has disproportionately affected young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, setting back their education, employment prospects, mental health and income at a time when they were already facing major challenges.

To help today’s youth get through this crisis and prepare for the post-COVID world businesses of all sizes must rally round. Many have already taken bold action and led by example, including by providing emergency support and by continuing to hire young people. Yet much more can be done. More businesses can take action, and by doing so, contribute to their own communities, and to their own future by bringing in young people with different perspectives, skills and experiences. Supporting the youth represents an opportunity – perhaps the best opportunity – that any business has to bounce back better and be fit for the post-COVID world.


Join us from 20-24 September for OECD Youth Week 2021! This series of engaging discussions will highlight the urgent need to invest in young people as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The “Stand By Youth” Initiative

The Stand By Youth Initiative aims to support and encourage businesses to help youth through the crisis and beyond by raising awareness, sharing best practice, and hosting events to connect build a broader coalition of like-minded businesses. The initiative is led by a partnership of 10 global organisations: the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, Business at OECD (BIAC), SMEunited, International Network for SMEs (INSME), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Ashoka Global, JEUNE Europe, Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG), European Youth Forum (EYF) and the European Engineering Learning Innovation and Science Alliance (EELISA).


Together, these organisations have launched a Call to Action to encourage businesses to do more for young people. 




Read opinion pieces on “Stand By Youth” on the OECD Cogito blog.

As the Stand By Youth campaign builds momentum, we are inviting companies to share their work and examples with us via this link and on social media to inspire others using the #StandbyYouth.


Launch event – 8 July 2021

Stand By Youth was launched on 8 July 2021 at an event opened by Ms Muriel Pénicaud, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the OECD. The event engaged over 20 high-level speakers including senior representation from Nestle, Santander, IBM, Bayer and Adecco as well as small companies, youth organisations and higher education institutions. Speakers shared their experiences and initiatives in supporting young people during COVID, from internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training, to career advice and mentoring; and discussed how to address the challenges facing youth in the future. 


You can read the proceedings here and access a recording of the full event below.



Coming up

We will be collating the examples of best practice from businesses across the world to raise awareness and inspire others to take action.
These will be showcased at the OECD Youth Week from 20 to 24 September. Watch this space for further details!





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