“YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS”: BOOSTING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS IN YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN MARGINAL URBAN AREAS OF GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR– A CASE STUDY
In the world, youth unemployment increased from 12.9% in 2015 to 13.1% in 2016 according to the International Labor Organization. In emerging economies, unemployment reached a peak of 13.7%. Also, in developing countries, the youth unemployment rate increased to 9.5% in 2016. Hence, to cope with this social issue, Ecuadorian regulations enforce the change of the productive matrix and prioritize eco-efficient production. Moreover, the National Plan of Good Living fosters sustainable development and people’s well-being. In fact, the objective nine of the Plan guarantees a dignifying job, promotes the expansion of job opportunities for young people and encourages the reduction of underemployment. Additionally, the Ecuadorian Higher Education Council establishes the internship of undergraduate students in social projects. In this context, the Institution of Higher Education (IHE) where this qualitative case study took place bolsters society linked projects. Thus, undergraduate students can enroll in these projects and contribute in the development of popular and solidarity economy. “Young Entrepreneurs” project supports entrepreneurship and inclusive business initiatives in the Ecuadorian Coast. Hence, the general aim of this project was to boost the entrepreneurial skills of 12 participants aged between 18 and 24. These youths live in marginal urban areas of Guayaquil and belong to Children International Program. The participants intended to start their own enterprise in the business and service areas. However, they did not have the necessary knowledge for being competitive and for positioning their businesses in the market. “Young Entrepreneurs” project comprised the participation of IHE undergraduate students of Economics and Business Administration careers, academic tutors and the direction of the Center of Social Development (CEDESA, Acronym in Spanish) of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities. The specific objective of “Young Entrepreneurs” project was the training of the participants in the preparation of a business plan. For this purpose, the IHE undergraduate students taught three workshops: Market Analysis, Technical and Operational Analysis and Financial Analysis. The guided sessions consisted of direct instruction and ludic activities which contributed to the knowledge acquisition of the participants. Data related to the project included written documents, surveys and observations. Findings highlight undergraduate students and participants enriching experiences as well as the objective achieved. In fact, all the beneficiaries completed 100% of the training workshops. Thus, the technical assistance in the preparation of the business plan was completely fulfilled. Also, twenty nine undergraduate students of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities completed their internship in this society linked project. Another key finding is the cooperation of a non-profit organization and IHE in the enhancement of social and economic aspects of young people’s lives.