The International Youth Foundation (IYF), together with MasterCard Worldwide and the Community Collective Society for Integrated Development (CCFID), recently invited top corporate, government, and NGO leaders to report on progress being made to support 700 young entrepreneurs in Delhi and Mumbai and to discuss ways to further strengthen those efforts.

Participants at the event, held on November 29, 2012 at the India International Centre in New Delhi, included MasterCard’s Division President, South Asia Mr. TV Seshadri, representatives from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Ministry of Youth Affairs, IYF and CCFID, and youth leaders.

Attendees learned about progress being made by Young Entrepreneurs, a program supported by IYF, MasterCard, and CCFID that is designed to address the urgent need to increase support for youth entrepreneurship in India. To date, 388 young people have received comprehensive entrepreneurship training and links to financial capital, with many of them currently operating businesses such as computer and mobile phone repair shops, internet cafés, handicraft stalls, and tailoring shops. Seventy of these youth have also received in-depth mentoring from local professionals who are experts in banking, product design, and small business development.

Each year, as many as 12 million young people in India enter the labor market seeking jobs that can support themselves and their families. However, the Indian economy only creates about one million new jobs in the formal sector every year. Young Entrepreneurs is designed to help address these challenges.

“We are pleased to see so much progress being made by the graduates of this program as they launch their own small businesses and create new jobs in the community,” said Bill Reese, President and CEO of the International Youth Foundation. “Thanks to this collaboration between MasterCard Worldwide, CCFID, and IYF, we are helping to support India’s next generation of smart, innovative entrepreneurs.”

The meeting updated attendees about how the Young Entrepreneurs program is working to break down the barriers to success for India’s young people and introduced a number of young entrepreneurs who have benefited from the program. Two panels of experts discussed the benefits of financial inclusion for youth, how entrepreneurship can positively impact young people’s lives and prospects, and how these efforts can be further supported by local companies and government agencies.

“We believe entrepreneurship skills are one way for individuals to overcome barriers to financial inclusion and we are proud to support this initiative which empowers Indian youth to achieve positive economic outcomes for themselves, their families and their communities. Since its inception in April 2012, the program has succeeded in helping train 388 Indian youths, as well as providing them with the financial assistance needed to operate their own business,” said T.V. Seshadri, division president, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide.