I recently attended the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit (G20YES) in Mexico City, one of 20 business owners chosen by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) to represent Canada.
In an earlier column, I reflected on my expectations prior to participating. Now, after many meetings, breakout sessions, speakers, networking, and a few mariachi songs, the question is, were my expectations filled?
I had hoped to collaborate with other entrepreneurs from around the world, to provide input on the role entrepreneurship plays in the global economy, and outline what governments need to do, and not do, to enable entrepreneurship.
I learned that at the past three G20YES summits, input had been gathered and consolidated, and a communiqué had been prepared with the intention of presenting the findings to the G20 leaders. This year’s dialogue, collaboration and document all came together as expected. For the first time in G20YES history, the communiqué was presented directly, in front of the entire delegation, to the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon.
Mr. Calderon engaged the entire delegation through an exciting, genuine, and passionate question-and-answer session. One exchange was particularly memorable: “Mr. President, how do we ensure that our recommendations get put in front of the G20 leaders and actually considered?” one delegate asked. “You have already done that,” Mr. Calderon responded. “I now have the communiqué,” to which the crowd erupted with optimism.
He recognized the importance of the communiqué, committing to deliver it to G20 leaders in Los Cabos later this month. Significant work, collaboration and debate occurred. The process, and more specifically the meaningful interaction among delegates, was a takeaway worth highlighting.
Successful entrepreneurs are excitable, passionate, big thinkers, and hard working. Imagine more than 200 of these personalities coming together in one room to discuss entrepreneurship. Over four days, we shared our startup stories: bootstrapping with maxed-out visa cards until we found an angel investor; the business models that are working, and ones that are not; the times you had no clue what you were doing, but you figured it out.
Very seldom do we have opportunities to learn from the best and brightest young entrepreneurs from around the world. It was fascinating to understand other economies’ investment patterns in startups, their entrepreneurial culture, barriers to success and other experiences. It became evident that Canada, while not a perfect entrepreneurial environment, is far ahead of many other mature and high-growth economies.
A lot has happened in the past week in Mexico City. But what is more important is what happens in the weeks, months and years to come in all G20 economies. It is not sufficient to collaborate and put some ideas on paper. It is more important than ever to share the experience and findings with political and business leaders at all levels.
Mr. Calderon understands how important entrepreneurship is to Mexico’s future. In a country with a young population that is facing exceptionally high rates of unemployment, he passionately promoted entrepreneurship as a key solution to this challenge.
The purpose of the G20YES was to provide political leaders, such as Mr. Calderon, with ideas on how to create an environment where entrepreneurs can help solve these and other problems. There are multitudes of entrepreneurs ready to take them on who are anxiously awaiting Mr. Calderon’s presentation of and more importantly the action on the communiqué to other leaders.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Bryan McCrea is the founder of Saskatoon-based3twenty solutions, a designer and manufacturer of modular structures for the oil, gas and mining industries.
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