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UNDP Yemen launched an initiative entitled Youth Innovation and Creativity Award for the Most Innovative Business Ideas, aiming to mobilize the ingenuity and dynamic potential of young Yemenis as well as to create employment. This initiative will assist young people in becoming entrepreneurs capable of creating and sustaining profitable small enterprises in sectors which will further create employment. It is an opportunity for the large unemployed youth population of Yemen to confront the country’s development challenges. The spirit of the Award lies in the pursuit of innovative and productive core business practices that can be an example for others to replicate and help to build a better Yemen.
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Substantially reduce youth unemployment
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Promote diversification, technological upgrading and innovation
According to the Government of Yemen's Youth Employment Action Plan, "unemployment - and especially youth unemployment - is one of the most important challenges faced by Yemen, and one of the main factors of political instability and insecurity". According to the same document, in 2010, the overall labour force participation rate was as low as 39.5 percent. In particular, women are absent from economic activity as nine out of ten do not participate in the labour force.
The Youth Innovation and Creativity "Afkar" Award, which means ideas in Arabicwas first launched in 2013 to effectively combat youth unemployment in Yemen post-Arab Spring and spread a culture of entrepreneurship at the national level. The Afkar Award caters to the business community and youth entrepreneurs. The award was launched through an online call for business ideas, and then was disseminated through social media, the radio, and billboards throughout the country.
The Youth submit their innovative business ideas, which are reviewed by a panel of business community representatives and UNDP. The ideas are first longlisted, with 100 youth undergoing a business training and following business advisory sessions to refine their business plans. The trainees then pitch their ideas to the panel and the final 10 winners receive a grant to establish their startup. New entrepreneurs are incubated and coached during one year.
The solution has been successful as it has attracted an unprecedented number of applicants of over 1,600. Some of the solutions capitalised through the Afkar Award won other business prizes at the regional and international levels. The Award'ssecond edition refocused on solutions aimed at providing a social impact to communities to bridge private sector development with community resilience.
Ministry of Industry and Trade in the Republic of Yemen