National Platform for Young Entrepreneurs

The establishment of Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) in the Pacific

News | 01 April 2018
YEC Vanuatu officially launched by ILO Employers Specialist and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vanuatu
The establishment of Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) within the national employer organisations in the Pacific has seen young entrepreneurs use the national platform to voice their issues and call for the improvement of the youth entrepreneurial eco-system to incentivise youth start up and expansion.

An initiative that started in 2015 by CO-Suva and ACTEMP (ROAP) has resulted in the establishment of YEC’s in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa and recently in Kiribati. “We still have five (5) more countries to go”, says Mr Edward Bernard, the Programme Officer and Employment focal point for the Pacific. Mr Bernard added, that while the YEC model is an ILO (CO-Suva/ACTEMP) one, regional partners, specifically the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Youth Council (PYC) have supported all or some of the phases through funding and/or technical assistance.

The YEC model has three (3) phases:

Phase 1
Institutional arrangements within the employer organization for the establishment of YEC [ILO Consultant]

Phase 2

Launch & Operationalization of YEC work plan [Employer CEO/YEC Chair]

Phase 3
Implementation of YEC Strategic Plan [YEC Chair]

YEC Fiji Chair (middle) and FCEF CEO Mr Hazelman received a cheque from Vodafone Foundation
YEC is envisaged to be an advocacy and technical membership based council, within the national employers’ organisation that creates the evidence base to creatively engage with policy makers, via the national platform, to effect policy change that will incentivise and promote youth start up and employment aspirations of current and future young entrepreneurs.

This single initiative also allows for ILO Programme & Budget (P&B) reporting under outcomes 1 (Youth Employment), 4 (Enterprise Development) and 10 (Employer Capacity Building). As the interest on youth entrepreneurship, including social, green, blue entrepreneurship by development agencies in the pacific has increased dramatically, due to the elevation of climate change as a major priority, YEC’s are the “go-to” institution to access innovative young entrepreneurs and the private sector.

YEC Vanuatu is currently the most advanced at phase three (3) by launching its strategic plan (2017-20) late last year. The national employer organisation, Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI), has further legitimised YEC by appointing a YEC member into its Executive Council. YEC Vanuatu plans to submit a Policy Paper to reduce micro-finance interest rates and waive business licence fees for youth start-ups, in order to promote sustainable enterprises and employment creation in Vanuatu. While rest of the YEC’s are still on phase two (2), they have also made considerable progress in promoting the YEC and expanding its membership base.

CEO for Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) Mr Va’ai speaks to the media on the importance of establishing YEC Samoa
The establishment of YEC within the national employers’ organisation has enabled ACTEMP to deliver marketing and disaster risk reduction training to YEC Fiji using the ACTEMP developed In Business modules. As YEC is one of 9 councils of the Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation (FCEF), YEC Chair is invited to FCEF board meetings to present updates and contribute to agenda items of national interest. YEC Fiji also managed to secure funding from Vodafone Foundation to support dissemination of information to its members through mobile phone platform.

For more information, visit the following YEC Facebook pages: