Youth Entrepreneurs Support (YES) Initiative

The Youth Entrepreneurs Support (YES) initiative by Africa and Europe Committee of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) seeks to support Youth entrepreneurs in both regions and to stimulate youth businesses to strategise resiliently for stability and recovery. Activities span from data collection to understanding challenges, webinar series, discussion with experts, boot camp, skill-building sessions and advocacy strategies.

We seek to:

  1. Produce a regional study of challenges faced by Youth businesses and document good practices cum solutions to support Youth Businesses recover and mitigate future challenges.
  2. Conduct Webinars and Boot camp aimed at building capacities and equipping business owners with skills.
  3. Support youth business recovery and advocate for Youth Enterprise funds.

Our webinar series and boot camp will:

  1. Explore key issues relating to Youth businesses.
  2. Build the capacity of Youth Entrepreneurs and Innovators.
  3. Provide a platform where business owners can network with themselves and experts.
  4. Encourage sharing and learning of best practices.
  5. Facilitate acquisition of skills geared towards finding solutions to challenges.

This is a closed event; only selected persons will be contacted.


This will be held from  28th  August, 2020 – 19th September, 2020.


Online (Zoom Platform): Selected participants will receive a link to join.





The Coronavirus pandemic which has placed the world in a disposition of unprecedented economic shock has largely affected the economic security of young people.

Youth startups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Youth innovative entrepreneurship and businesses which are the areas that contribute to the stability of the economic security of young people are the sectors negatively impacted by the pandemic. Interestingly, this is only an amplification of already prevailing situations of poor social security, reduced funding, capital generation and increasing unemployment before the pandemic.

The downside of the pandemic effects on youth enterprises is therefore worth noting. These businesses stand the risk of losing funding opportunities since funds are now being diverted. In addition, there has been reduced work hours in the event of the lockdown and the drastic reduction in market prices for products. These consequently resulted in the collapse of businesses with inevitable accompanying effects of job losses and crippling of economies.

Nevertheless, there are inspiring stories of young entrepreneurs innovating to support their communities and families, driving their businesses forward despite the pandemic. While this is a crisis situation, it can also be seen as a window of opportunity to promote innovation, ensure sustained business strategies, strengthen the resilience of youth enterprises and improve partnerships.

It is in this vein that we roll out this initiative to mitigate these challenges and ameliorate the innovations of youth businesses in the face of the pandemic.


Program Agenda

Webinar Series 1


Mr. Stephen Rodriques


A social development practitioner with over 25 years of experience working in Government and the United Nations system. Prior to being Resident Representative for UNDP Rwanda, Mr. Rodriques served as Deputy Country Director for UNDP’s Office in Indonesia. He was also an Advisor in UNDP’s Executive Office in New York; Head of the Governance and Poverty Unit for UNDP Jamaica multi-country office; Director of Social Policy in Jamaica’s Ministry of Local Government, Youth and Community Development; Head of Planning and Development in the Jamaica Social Investment Fund; and Assistant to the Director General of the National Planning Institute of Jamaica. 

Pearl Gaone Ranna

ceo,agriNvestec, botswana

An Agricultural Policy Analyst and a full time livestock Farmer with over 10 years cumulative experience in the Agribusiness sector. 

Pearl is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of her newly established organization, Agrinvestec; which is an Agricultural Development and Consultancy Agency.

Through Agrinvestec Pearl has founded two farmer-led programs; African Young Farmers Network and Mosadi-Peo Support Program which aim to empower youth and women farmers respectively.  As a mother of one, she has dedicated her time to establishing a non-profit organisation; Mothers Rise Up – which aims to provide Agribusiness and Financial literacy capacity to Young Single Mothers in rural and urban Botswana.

Lambert Binla


A young practicing business and social entrepreneur with an enviable wealth of experience in helping potential and existing entrepreneurs set up, manage and operate their various businesses and projects.

He has worked with UN peace partner projects, GIZ, SNV, and a  couple of NGOs across Africa.

His fine mind  and eye for innovative ideas, good mastery of the African Market,Businesses and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem sets him far apart from others. 

He is currently engaged on a couple of initiatives both employed and self-employed with doors open for bigger and challenging proposals.

Dr. Konstantinous Stergiou


An Economist (Ph.D., M.Ed., M.A.) and his professional activity focuses on both formal and non-formal education. Since 2007, he has gained many years’ experience working as an economist, business consultant, trainer, educator and career consultant. As a Youth Trainer, he has provided non-formal learning education services in 21 countries around the world in the fields of social entrepreneurship and youth work.

Konstantinos has several scientific publications related to Youth, Social Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Education, Youth Employability, Efficiency and Effectiveness of Education.

He is member of the Council of Europe Pool of Trainers, member of the British Council Greece pool of trainers, member of SALTO pool of trainers, member of Erasmus+ Greek pool of trainers, member of the Council of Europe Pool of European Youth Researchers (PEYR) and Manager of the Europe Direct Information Center (EDIC) of Western Macedonia, in Greece.

Ms. Mariana Francisco Eria


Founder of  “The  House  Of  Agness ” which began  as  a hobby  and  today  is  a  formally  established  company  with  two  points  of  sale  in  the  city  of Maputo  with a  team  of  14  young  employees.

The  House  of  Agness  is  a  floral  design  company  inspired  by  modern and  minimalistic trends but with  a classic  touch. In  addition  to  being  a  brand,  it has  become  a  concept, as it  always  seeks  to  support  initiatives  related  to  women empowerment  through  its  brief  blog coupled with participation  in  women lead programs and empowerment forums.  She  is currently  a  Cherie  Blair  Foundation  Mentee Alumni.  

In addition  to  her  active  participation  in   women  empowerment,  she  continuously  seeks  to  integrate  more  African  women  in  the  supply  chain  of  the  company. Currently  her  cardboard  boxes  are  produced  by  hand,  by  southern  african  women  in economically  challenged communities  using  80% recycled raw  materials.

Mr. Ife Ade Tokan

Program Manager (T&T), UNITED KINGDOM

Co-Founder of the African Youth Initiative (AYI), which is a platform for young ambitious Africans to connect, move forward together and create positive change in the African continent. The AYI hosts and organises the prestigious annual African Youth Gala, where young Africans in the UK celebrate culture, achievements and the prospects of Africa.

He has worked for top global brands like Accenture, PwC, Foresight Group, Atkins and Deloitte. Mr. Tokan  is also a contributor to the career and self-development column for West Africa’s most viewed blog Bella Naija and the Huffington Post.

More admirable is the fact that He was listed in the top of the 100 Outstanding Graduates  by  The Future Leaders Magazine, UK.


Supporting SMEs through the Covid-19 Crisis;
Challenges and Opportunities forYouth Businesses.

  • Young people need to know now is the best time to create economic impact globally and locally.

  • Agriculture is gradually paving a way for economic transformation and diversification. COVID19 has shown us agriculture is an essential industry to invest in.
  • Innovation plays an important role in enhancing productivity in any sector.
  • Africa is the next centre for industrialization.
  • Individualistic mentality is killing many entrepreneurs. You need to collaborate.
  • Many African entrepreneurs only have Google knowledge. Invest in acquiring the right skills.
  • The pandemic has given rise to new entrepreneurial activities.
  • Make customers a part of the business. Build a customer- centric brand.
  • More young people need to participate in politics for better policies to improve the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • Be proactive in diversifying your portfolio. You don’t have to remain stagnant to one idea


Program Agenda

Webinar Series 2







Ms. Lydia Atiemo


An Articulate and Passionate Public Interest  and Women Empowerment Advocate. Ms. Lydia Atiemo is an established Finance and Business Consultant.She serves as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Youth Employment Agency in Ghana. She is the President of the Elevate Women’s Network.

Mr. Goitsemang Khutsafalo


A Renowned Author, Entrepreneur and Radio Personality.He is the author of the celebrated ‘Think like an Entrepreneur, Act like a Prostitute’ known as The Black & Yellow and his new book, Mari Mavu. 

With the unflinching desire to impact  the lives of young people in Botswana and Africa at large,  He is the Founding Patron of All Brilliant Minds Organization (ALBRIMO) and Founder & CEO of Launchit International (Pty) Ltd, a business and entrepreneurship development agency that is focused on cultivating sustainable & growth oriented entrepreneurship in African communities.

Goitsemang is also the host of RB2 FM’s youth entrepreneurship show, The Youth Gear, which reach thousands of people countrywide with knowledge, inspiration, opportunities and insightful conversations in and around youth entrepreneurship. Mr. Khutsafalo is an associate at the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation (SKMF) since 2015. He lives by the quote from Dr. T. L Osborne, “The most important possible achievement in life is to be the terrific person God created you to be.”

Mrs. Ukinebo Dare

Managing director, edo state skills dev'T agency,nigeria

She oversees the Edojobs initiative and is the project coordinator for Edo Innovates (an innovation cluster leveraging on technology to create jobs, upskill youth and incubate businesses) Edo creative hub, Edo food and Agric cluster (impacting over 3,000 farmers in rural communities yearly with improved access to market, equipment, aggregation services etc.), and Edo production center (providing power supply, shared factory facilities and skills for artisans and small scale manufacturers in the state). Over 150,000 residents have benefitted from this State Government’s job creation initiatives.

Her exploits in tackling the menace of  unemployment in Edo State as the SSA to the Governor on Skills Development and Jobs  got her appointed as the Managing Director of the Edo State Skills Development Agency as soon as it was established by law. She has written many publications including 40 First Jobs, Wake Up This is Your Life . She is also the author of ‘The Impact Blog’ a resource for people interested in learning about effective job creation strategies for Africa.

Ms. Didintle Felicia Letlape

data analyst and project management assistant, anglo american

Data analyst and project manager in Mining. Ms. Didintle Letlape is a FinBiz2030 Education lead and the Commonwealth Youth Council Africa and Europe Finance Director.


The Role of SMEs in Tackling Youth Unemployment In The COVID-19 Recovery.

  • For a country to recover fully from the effects of post COVID, youth entrepreneurship is the way to go.
  • Connecting people to jobs and finding ways of helping small businesses grow means that that as they grow, they can employ more people.
  • The youth should stay patient, be resilient and persevere and to use the feedback to re-invent their business plan to add a better offering.
  • Entrepreneurs to take particular interest in improving their soft skills and to be presentable in order to use their strong points to leverage on what they can deliver as part of product offering.



Ajibola Oluwatosin


Ajibola Oluwatosin is  a computer scientist and graduate of the University of New Brunswick, Canada. 

He has a significant work experience as a project manager at Appzone Group, managing product delivery of various digital banking applications and card issuance solutions to tier 1 banks in West Africa and East Africa. 

Tosin’s professional career is centered around using technology to solve problems & IT solution delivery in various sectors including Settlement industry, Financial technology, education, telecommunication, and other enterprise solutions. 

Oluwatosin has also been involved in voluntary activities that give back to the community with focus on ensuring Children have access to education early in life.

Mfundo Mohammed


He  works in the Information Communication Technology space in the Kingdom of Eswatini where he is the Founder and Internet Solutions Engineer at Onswaziline, an ICT services company he co-founded in 2008, he also  works on various ICT projects for leading Swazi companies offering services in web design, ICT consulting, online & mobile marketing and ecommerce.

Through Onswaziline and personal involvement in a number of community, national, regional and international initiatives, Mfundo continues to work towards availing opportunities for the youth to be active participants in development.

Mfundo holds a number of leadership roles at the Evangelical Church, Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA, Junior Achievement eswatini, Innovators Association of Eswatini (IAE), Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs.

Mfundo continues to be involved in many areas of society as a contributor, influencer and a motivational speaker. 

Fadila A. Ahmad


She is a business strategist, remote work consultant, media and finance Entrepreneur. 

She runs a trade payment facilitation agency working with merchants and traders in 5 countries providing them trade advisory, payment, pricing and business development advisory services. She also helps physical business transition into profitable and effective remote work. 

She is the founder of Africans Living Fully, a media and community platform that seeks to empower young Africans to be limitless in their pursuit of a fulfilling career & life. ALF creates digital content and curated live & digital events centred around the future of work, careers, culture & lifestyle design. Fadila has 7 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience. She has worked across 4 industries in over 8 countries and has travelled to over 30 across the globe . She is a strong advocate of equal opportunities for all and for social, financial and economic empowerment and is obsessed with sustainable business design, thus her commitment to expanding access to resources, opportunities and training to individuals and organisations.

Magdalene Kouakey

Ceo, dalene's royalty

Magdalene Kouakey is the CEO of Dalene’s Royalty an events planning and coordination company, she she is a proactive individual with enviable work experience in business management project coordination, she serves as  a consultant for several organisations and has served in various capacities and contributed significantly to the progress and success of the various organisations she has worked with. 


She is an expert in  written and oral communication coupled with data analysis and has an appreciable volunteering pedigree.