Davos 2013: Focus on Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship

At the end of this month, the business and political elite from around the world will meet in the (no-doubt wildly sunny) Davos, Switzerland for Davos 2013, otherwise known as the annual World Economic Forum; a week-long conference where policy makers, culture creators and global decision makers discuss the state of the economy, creativity at large and the present and future of how we Do Stuff Together. So what can we tell about the world from this year’s agenda?


We’ve been poring over the Davos 2013 programme like business kittens on a freshly caught slice of enterprise cod. Partially in the pursuit of enlightenment, mostly because enternship’s very own Rajeeb Dey is speaking at it this year, and we’re pretty jealous.

But some themes seem to come up over and over again – and considering the clientele (not to mention the impact they can have), we think it’s probably fairly important that young entrepreneurs everywhere understand the issues being discussed. So, here we go, the things we’ve learnt:

1. Everyone Is Still Quite Worried

The official theme for this year’s World Economic Forum is “resilient dynamism,” which for many of us is another way of saying “JUST KEEP GOING”. Many of this year’s talks are – quite understandably – focussing on the impact of the global recession across education, employment, growth and infrastructure, not to mention the future of the Euro, and how massive businesses go about re-gaining trust from millions of people who no longer feel that big corporations are on their side. The increase in successful start-ups and SME’s seems to mirror this – confirming that it’s certainly no bad time to appeal to disillusioned customers with a leaner, more transparent method of business.

2. Education, repetition, education.

The number of events based around looking at education in a fresh way is pretty darn exciting. With a world still floundering under mass unemployment and educational values themselves shifting, it’s a very interesting time to be looking at revitalizing how students learn. Talks like ‘Disruptive Education with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’ promise to offer alternatives to traditional university teaching methods, as does ‘The Future Of Higher Education’. ‘New Centres Of Innovation’ wants to question where and how we do our learning altogether, and ‘Unleashing Entrepreneurial Innovation With Stanford University’ aims to change educational paradigms through digital technology. Just ‘went to school’, did you? Philistine.

3. Social Media continues to change the game

A perhaps surprising number of DAVOS talks this year are focussed around harnessing the power of social media; from ‘The Social Technology Context’; hoping to explore the innovations that have come with social media, ‘Online Power’ which will discuss the influence these channels have. ‘From Tabloid To Tablet’, ‘Global Risks 2013: Digital Wildfires in a hyper-connected world’, even Literal Internet Inventor himself Tim Berners-Lee is giving a talk on the dangers involved in the potential of social media. What’s interesting from an entrepreneurial point of view is that the strength of your online presence is entirely up to the individual, and it cannot be automatically harnessed by large corporations. It’s the thing that no amount of money can automatically get you, and one of the reasons innovative start-ups can get instant visibility – get your social media right and the world is your oyster.

4. Young people everywhere need our help

Particularly interesting is the number of talks being given by the Young Global Leaders (of which Enternship’s Rajeeb Dey is one) – underlining the need to change existing paradigms. There’s a real sense in the programme throughout of getting rid of old methods, and embracing new ways of getting young people and graduates into employment. Talks of particular note include ‘Skills For Employment’; focussing on how we can better equip young people for the world of work, ‘Preventing A Lost Generation’ underlining the critical need to get the 14 million young people out of work in Europe back in employment, and ‘The Next Generation Workforce’ which will discuss the changes in industry between the generations.

5. BUT alongside the need for youth employment, the number of young people taking control is on the rise.

As well as continuing the conversation of how we help stop unemployment from destroying the prospects of a generation, there’s certainly a keen interest in those young people who have spurned traditional employment methods and blazed their own path. Talks such as ‘Drivers Of Change’ will centre on what established companies can learn from the young leaders of today, ‘The Disruptive University’ questions how new models of education and collaboration is spurring on innovation and ‘Fostering Entrepreneurial Innovation’ will encourage companies to think beyond industry boundaries and take inspiration from those starting businesses themselves.   By all accounts, more and more people are taking risks on their own talent, and it’s vital that established companies following old models don’t get left behind.

Want to learn more about Davos 2013? Visit the official site here, (and follow Rajeeb @rajdey as he embarks on his Davos adventure from Sunday!)

By Natasha Hodgson

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Natasha Hodgson is the Content and Community Manager over at Enternships. She loves writing about inspiring things, and Nicolas Cage. Luckily, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

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