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.


This new series OECD Youth Week 2021 highlighted 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 have invited companies to share their work and examples with us via this link and on social media to inspire others using the #StandbyYouth.


OECD Youth Week – 22 September 2021

Stand by Youth: How can businesses mobilise young entrepreneurs for the recovery?

Young entrepreneurs have huge potential to open up new opportunities for themselves and others. And yet while young people are more likely than adults to prefer starting up their own venture to working as an employee, before the crisis they were only half as likely to do so as the population as a whole. The young face many barriers to entrepreneurship – including in accessing the right training, advice, finance, and networks to start a venture. Tackling these barriers will be key to unlocking the talent and ideas of young people and empowering them to play a leading role in the recovery. This session looked at how firms themselves can support young people develop an entrepreneurial mindset as a route to a successful career – whether or not they go on to found a business.

More details in the event page here



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.







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