Behind the scenes at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance summit

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Mark Kent, British ambassador to Argentina, with the IoD 99 delegation to Buenos Aires

Alex Mitchell, chair of IoD 99 – the institute’s community of new business founders – led a delegation to Argentina for the annual conference of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance. He picks his highlights from the event

Alex Mitchell of IoD 99

Alex Mitchell

The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance is an international group of organisations promoting youth entrepreneurship as a force for socioeconomic development. The IoD is the UK’s representative body.

Each year the alliance brings together some of the world’s brightest new entrepreneurs to share their ideas with G20 leaders, including those from the B20, the private sector’s voice in the bloc. The 2018 summit was held in Buenos Aires in September – and 16 members of IoD 99 were among the 300-plus business founders who attended it.

So what was the event like? I think it can best summed up by a quote from one delegate who said at the end: “Thank goodness I got my sleep in on the flight over here.”

Our delegation started things off with a bang as soon as we arrived on the eve of the summit. The British ambassador to Argentina, Mark Kent (pictured, above, with our delegation), kindly hosted a special IoD 99 social evening at the embassy, which more than 150 people attended.

Day one

The official programme opened with speeches from senior members of the Argentine government, including the chair of B20. These were followed by a hugely insightful session that posed the question: “What skills will your organisation need in the future – and how will you build these in your workforce?”

In a packed first day, two IoD 99ers participated in panel discussions. Claire Starza-Allen, chief commercial officer of Little Bee Community, considered the future of entrepreneurship education, while Tommie Edwards, founder and CEO of Eventbree, explored aspects of international mobility, including the topical issue of visas.

Day two

I kicked off the closing day by hosting a group discussion entitled “A big f***-up session”, in which 20 attendees spoke of times when things hadn’t quite gone to plan for them. One even related how he’d accidently employed a fugitive on the FBI’s “most wanted” list.

Another highlight was a fascinating session that delved into global trends in tax policy and considered whether smarter taxation can fuel GDP growth.

The formal programme concluded with the signing of an official communiqué, the contents of which had been voted on by attendees throughout the event. This document covered a range of topics, including the need to review national education systems to see whether they are doing enough to nurture students’ business skills. It also focused on the need to promote sustainable development and champion truly inclusive entrepreneurship.

A key benefit of an event of this type is the valuable networking opportunities it offers. Taking time out from your day-to-day work and sharing insights with a diverse mix of fellow founders provides both inspiration and a hugely valuable learning experience.

Jumping off a 14-hour flight and going straight into two days of intensive discussion was exhausting, but our delegation did a fantastic job.

I felt honoured and lucky to have shared this trip with an amazing group of people: Dee Burrowes, Tommie Edwards, Giselle Frederick, Ferron Gray, Daniel Halenko, Naomi Jane, Joseph Knight, Hugo Macedo, Marion Marincat, Jamie Prangnell, Rebecca Savage, Claire Starza-Allen, Ravi Vetsa and Xiaochen Zhang. To find out more about each of them, click here.

The next G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance summit will be held in Japan in May. IoD 99 is planning to take a delegation there too, so watch this space.

Visit www.iod.com/99 for further information

About author

Alex Mitchell

Alex Mitchell

Alex Mitchell is founder and director of Causarma, co-founder of the Young Brits Network and Founder of Kit Us Out. He is also chair of IoD 99, the current UK President of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance and the Executive Vice President of the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs

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