Futuremakers Case Study September 2022
Uplifting micro business owners in the new economy
<big><big>Uplifting micro business owners
in the new economy</big></big>
<big>What is Futuremakers?</big>
Young people around the world face significant barriers to economic inclusion, with some 200 million out of work or in low-income poverty.1 Women and girls bear a heavier burden, because of social and cultural influences that limit their economic participation, particularly in low-income and emerging markets.
Futuremakers by Standard Chartered is our global initiative to tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion. We pledge to help young people from low-income communities – with a greater focus on women and girls – to learn new skills and improve their chances of gaining sustained employment or starting their own business. To support this, we’ve made a commitment to raise USD75 million between 2019 and 2023, with an aim to empower the next generation to learn, earn, and grow.
Established in 2019, Futuremakers comprises of community projects within three interconnected pathways: education, employability, and entrepreneurship. We provide support to low-income young people at different points in their early lives, encourage social change in the environments that surround them, and work to address barriers to their economic participation.
Our non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners are at the heart of the implementation of Futuremakers projects. With their dedication and on-the-ground experience, together we’ve reached more than 849,000 young people between 2019 and mid-2022.
Meet our Futuremakers to see how the initiative is transforming lives.
New hurdles for young entrepreneurs
The world is facing a huge job shortage. Some 600 million jobs need to be created between 2012 and 2030 to support the growing global workforce.2
Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are the main GDP-contributors to developing and emerging economies, where most of these new jobs will be needed. Supporting the development of these MSMEs will therefore be vital to filling the gap.
Yet young people in these markets have long faced barriers to starting and sustaining a business. They often have inequitable access to finance, limited relevant knowledge and skills, and a lack of self-confidence.
Looking ahead, young entrepreneurs face even more challenges. The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have created a ‘reskilling emergency’: almost one-third of all jobs globally will be transformed and require reskilling by 2030.3 Climate change also weighs heavily on future generations, who face an uncertain environmental future.
With challenge, however, comes opportunity. Entrepreneurship training that includes technological upskilling can set young people on a pathway to success in this new economy. In addition, young entrepreneurs are showing increasing interest in socially and environmentally conscious business. So, investing in youth entrepreneurship is also good for communities, and for our world.
<big>How we’re helping</big>
Nurturing young entrepreneurs
Youth Business International (YBI) shares Futuremakers vision of tackling inequality to help young people realise their economic potential.
Together with implementing partners across its global network of members, YBI equips disadvantaged young people to build the skills, confidence, and connections they need to become successful business owners. YBI also seeks to ensure youth-led businesses with a social or environmental mission get the support they need to thrive in the new economy.
As our key partner for the entrepreneurship pathway, YBI delivers Futuremakers projects that target young entrepreneurs. Sitting at the heart of all projects, YBI take the lead in sharing experiences, insights, and solutions with its implementing partners. Together, they work with youth-led businesses to raise social and economic inclusion, with a focus on access to financing.
The types of projects vary across markets, with a range of activities that include business development training, mentoring, digital and soft-skills education, ideation sessions, peer coaching, and the use of online learning platforms.
Whatever the project, YBI remains at the partner’s side throughout, providing continual staff mentoring and sharing best practices.
As YBI and its partners inspire more and more young entrepreneurs via Futuremakers projects, we hope to create a new generation of youth-led enterprises. A generation who provides services to communities, solves environmental and social challenges, and creates jobs that drive local economic growth.
to social impact</big>
Below are two of the thousands of success stories from the Futuremakers entrepreneurship pathway.
Training with technology in Indonesia
Local implementing partner: YCAB Foundation
MSMEs provide employment for 97 per cent of Indonesia’s total workforce.4 Yet with a rural population approaching 120 million,5 many struggle to access training and education related to running a business.
Female entrepreneurs own 50 per cent of MSMEs in Indonesia.6 Many face the added challenge of concurrently managing a family: women in Indonesia have their first child at the age of 22, on average.7
For many young women, such challenges came to a head with the arrival of COVID-19. For existing entrepreneurs, lockdown restrictions and a stalled economy caused incomes to decline (by an average of 70 per cent, according to a 2020 Asian Development Bank8 survey). For others, starting a business became a critical alternative source of income.
Despite the resulting hardships, the pandemic also became a catalyst for positive change. For YBI partner YCAB Foundation, the sudden increased reliance on technology helped spurn an idea to support young female entrepreneurs: the wider use of a new chatbot training platform.
With support from YBI under the Futuremakers initiative, the YCAB Foundation piloted the use of its new Ibu Harta chatbot to an audience of more than 11,000 MSMEs. This online platform uses WhatsApp to deliver financial literacy and digital marketing training. With interactive videos that use simple, inclusive language, the bot brings much-needed flexibility to young female entrepreneurs in rural areas.
As of April 2022, 11,027 female MSME owners in Indonesia were trained via this project, 7,574 of whom were under 35. And within this group of young business owners, 300 received additional mentoring. More than 90 per cent of participants completed the online training, and 92 per cent reported improved ability and confidence to manage risk and uncertainty. Following this success, the partnership between YBI, YCAB and Futuremakers continues; in the next phase, we aim to reach more than 10,000 female entrepreneurs under 35 with the same chatbot training.
Larida’s once successful fast-food business was forced to close after COVID-19 hit Indonesia’s economy. Via the chatbot training, she learnt marketing skills and knowledge, and soon after launched a new profitable business, with a more recession-proof business model. She now sells non-perishable food on and offline.
"The chatbot method was very suitable for me as an extremely busy entrepreneur. I’m satisfied with the fact that I was able to learn independently."
Supporting conscious business owners in Turkey
Local implementing partner: Habitat
Entrepreneurship in Turkey is paramount; more than 99 per cent of enterprises in the country are MSMEs, accounting for more than 72 per cent of employment.9
Yet gender inequality persists. Women in Turkey make up less than 33 per cent of the labour force.10 And the country ranks 140th among 156 countries in terms of gender equality.11
Plus, like other emerging economies, Turkey faces a multitude of environmental challenges. Among the issues, increasing water-security stress is threatening the economic security of the country’s youth.12
In its partnership with Futuremakers and YBI, Turkish NGO Habitat conducts entrepreneurship projects that help Turkish business owners prepare for the changing world. Habitat designed a project to support and empower young entrepreneurs as they develop businesses that seek to make a positive social and environmental impact.
A recent aspect of this project also included COVID-19 recovery training. This helped participants understand how to protect the economic value of their businesses, and build resilience via digital education.
With intensive methods such as bootcamps and accelerator sessions, 780 entrepreneurs have been trained – 531 of whom were women. And via online trainings such as podcasts, nearly 8,000 further young people were reached by April 2022.
The next stage of our collaboration with YBI and Habitat will aim to reach more than 1,200 entrepreneurs over a two-year period.
With support from Habitat, Tüba launched her environmentally friendly business during the pandemic. As well as using sustainable resources, Tüba seeks to bring employment opportunities to under-compensated young women in Turkey. Via the Futuremakers project, she learnt digital, marketing, and networking skills that helped her build business resilience during the COVID-19 economic recovery.
Read more of Tüba’s story here.
“Habitat was very helpful and supportive in digitalisation, marketing and networking. It was essential to know that I was not alone. I improved, learned and developed new ideas for the brand. Since joining the programme, my business has improved its digitalisation and marketing, especially via our social media channels.”
For young people facing uncertainty across the world, entrepreneurship is a vital route to financial inclusion. Yet the barriers they face sustaining small businesses won’t disappear overnight.
Programmes like these therefore remain critical. Collectively, we can build momentum, empowering young entrepreneurs to build strong businesses that also support local economies, communities, and the environment – inspiring longer-term change.
Over the next two years of our partnership, YBI will continue to support micro business owners, preparing them for a more digital and socially-conscious future. Together, we will continue to target disadvantaged business owners previously excluded from formal financial systems: rural and female entrepreneurs, plus those with disabilities and visual impairments. We aim to reach at least another 30,000 entrepreneurs.
At Standard Chartered, we’re determined to improve the lives of 1 billion people and their communities by unleashing the financial potential of women and micro businesses in our core markets. With partnerships like this one with YBI, we can prepare entrepreneurs to operate successfully in the new economy, and support businesses that do good for our world.