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Young female holding her young child

Karen Ndhlovu from Zambia is embarking on the Building Young Futures programme.

To mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, UNICEF and Barclays have launched a blog site and research study that will track the lives of up to 60 disadvantaged unemployed young people across the world, over the next two years, following their journey towards economic independence.

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I joined Building Young Futures because I knew it would help in my future. I could find something to do, something in which I had enough knowledge to build for myself, a business I wanted to do. I wanted to think about the future.
Karen Ndhlovu, a young lady benefiting from Building Young Futures in Zambia

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest campaign focused on encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to start their own business. In the UK, the campaign is hosted by Business International (YBI) Youth in partnership with Barclays.

The stories featured in the blog represent just a small sample of the 74,000 young people who will receive training and mentoring through Building Young Futures, a partnership between Barclays and UNICEF which helps disadvantaged young people to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to set up their own small business or find a job.

Our work with UNICEF and YBI are an important part of 5 Million Young Futures, Barclays’ commitment to help five million young people, by 2015, to develop the enterprise, employability and financial skills they need to fulfil their potential. These are vital skills that, in turn, will help the next generation overcome the challenges they face, to better provide for themselves and for their families, and ultimately support longer-term growth in the global economy.

Through the blog launched this week, and interviews with researchers, young people from Brazil, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia will share their experiences, and the challenges they face, as well as their achievements and aspirations.

Karen Ndhlovu from Zambia (pictured above) is one of the young people who will give insight into their lives as they embark on the Building Young Futures programme. A 22 year-old lone parent, Karen is supporting her eight month-old daughter, her mother and two younger siblings. In Mtendere, where Karen lives, unemployment is very high so Karen, like many young Zambians, is looking to create her own work. Karen is receiving training sessions and mentoring through Building Young Futures, learning about saving, budgeting and how to start a business.

Karen commented: "I joined Building Young Futures because I knew it would help in my future. I could find something to do, something in which I had enough knowledge to build for myself, a business I wanted to do. I wanted to think about the future."

Read more about Karen’s story on the blog site.

Barclays Managing Director, Brand, Reputation and Citizenship, David Wheldon, said: “We are proud to work with UNICEF on Building Young Futures, one of our key global programmes that makes a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people in the communities where we live and work. We are excited to now have a platform to host the stories which demonstrate the true impact of this programme, empowering young people to fulfil their economic potential.”

Earlier this week, Barclays’ employees joined government, businesses and industry experts at the Global Entrepreneurship Week launch event in the UK. Sue Hayes, Managing Director for Business Banking, Barclays, undertook a keynote address and added support for the initiative: “Barclays is delighted to Sponsor Global Entrepreneurship Week and by doing so, to support young people through a number of great events and programmes throughout the year.

This week alone, Barclays will deliver over 150 ‘Get Ready for Business’ seminars to pre-start up entrepreneurs. This is just one of the many ways we are acknowledging Global Entrepreneurship Week and demonstrating our on-going commitment to 5 Million Young Futures.”

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