26 July 2012
The Commonwealth-Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE), formed in November 2011 with the joint initiative of the Commonwealth Youth Programme-Asia Centre and CII’s Young Indians had its mid-term Interim Review meeting and Leadership Assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 13 & 14, 2012.
Dr Rahul Mirchandani, Founder Chairman ofCAAYE & Past National Chairman, Yi, chaired the proceedings which were alsoattended by the Commonwealth Secretariat and member organisations fromPakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Brunei-Darussalam.
Ms Katherine Ellis, Director & Head ofthe Youth Affairs Division, Commonwealth-Secretariat, London and Mr AminulIslam Khan, CYP Asia Centre represented the Commonwealth at the LeadershipAssembly which discussed a range of issues including Commonwealth Connect &Strategy, 6 months activity update from each country, partnership opportunities,Coaching & Mentorship programs, branding, succession planning, membershipreview and appraisals, amongst many others. All member organisations gavedetails of the extensive work being carried out nationally in the areas ofEntrepreneurship, Skill Building & Employability and Innovation as theirstellar contribution to the CAAYE objectives of mentorship and advocacy forbuilding a better youth entrepreneurship ecosystem.
CAAYE also announced its ‘PipelinePartnership’ with the International Labour Organisation’s Youth EmploymentNetwork (YEN) for e-Coaching and Mentorship of young entrepreneurs using theYEN Marketplace platform which connects mentors with world class coaches withbusiness plans, funding options and pitching their business ideas. CAAYE andits member organisations will benefit from this partnership immensely since Yican, after its own due diligence, introduce coaches for certification by ILOand also introduce students and their members needing mentorship to the YENMarketplace program.
The Opening Ceremony and Entrepreneur Forumon 14 July 2012 was presided by Mr Vimalan, Director - International Unit,National Youth and Sports Department, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Governmentof Malaysia, Ms Katherine Ellis, Director & Head of the Youth AffairsDivision, Commonwealth-Secretariat, London and Dr Rahul Mirchandani, FounderChairman- CAAYE & Past National Chairman, Yi. Mr Vimalan expressed theMinistry’s keen interest in CAAYE and extended his full support to CAAYE andits partners in Malaysia, Junior Chamber International-Petaling Jaya andMalaysia Graduate Entrepreneurs Association (PUGM) who were co-hosts for theevent. Ms Katherine Ellis also provided details of how CAAYE is highlyrespected within the Commonwealth Secretariat as a ‘best practice Alliance’that within a short span of nine months since formation has succeeded inbringing together like minded organisations in the region to promoteentrepreneurship as the key growth engine in Asia using a united, constructiveand collective voice. She also expressed keenness on replicating CAAYE’ssuccess in the other Regions of the Commonwealth, beginning next with theCaribbean Region. Dr Mirchandani explained CAAYE’s journey since inception andmentioned that the reason why CAAYE is key to Asia is because the countries inthe Alliance have very little trade within each other and depend on the rest ofthe world due to artificial barriers to trade that urgently need policyintervention. Entrepreneurs can seek many opportunities within the Regionitself if an Alliance like CAAYE can work towards building bridges using theunited voices of young entrepreneurs.
This opening session was followed by aninteractive panel discussion with over 150 young entrepreneurs and Malaysianstudents on the theme “Trading beyond Borders – Adventures of GlobalEntrepreneurs”. The panel was moderated by Dr Navita Mahajan from Yi andincluded Mr Ejaj Ahmed, President – Bangladesh Youth Leadership Centre (BYLC),Mr Damien Chua, CEO of JD Group of Companies, Malaysia & Dr RahulMirchandani, Executive Director, Aries Agro Limited, India. This EntrepreneurForum touched various issues ranging from how each entrepreneur entered theirbusiness, their experience expanding overseas, challenges of regulation, managinghuman capital across different cultures and their personal vision and goals.The audience asked several questions related to challenges for start-ups and onskills required and grooming of youth for entrepreneurship. The Forum wasfollowed by a Business Networking event where six young entrepreneurs weregiven an excellent platform to pitch their own businesses to the audience.
CAAYE will soon issue a Communiquécontaining recommendations to improve access to finance for young entrepreneursat the flagship year end Summit, which will be its submission to the Heads ofGovernments, Education, Youth, and Finance & Commerce Ministers. In futureyears, Communiqués will be on other issues related to entrepreneurshipecosystem building
Yi Blue Ocean Dialogues Ideas Workshop hadits International debut on 15 July 2012. Sixty students of two leadinginstitutes were taken through an intensive ideation process by Dr RahulMirchandani, Immediate Past Chair, Next Practices & Past Yi NationalChairman and Dr Navita Mahajan, Chair, Next Practices. The workshop wasattended by the students of College Tunku Kurshiah and UCSA. The participantsalso included students of Mauritius, Chad, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Malaysia.This was an example of bilateral partnerships that emerge using the CAAYEplatform to work across borders on promoting an entrepreneurship culture.
The sessions concluded with a curtain raiserpresented by Yi inviting young entrepreneur delegates from CAAYE memberorganisations of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka,Bangladesh, Brunei and Maldives to Mumbai, India for the flagship CAAYE YoungEntrepreneur Summit scheduled from December 13 to 15, 2012.