Youth economic empowerment is tied to the future of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This chapter looks at the role of internationally competitive SMEs in providing jobs for young people and examines how improved youth skills and innovation promote the export capacity of SMEs. Firmlevel data show that access to finance is more of a challenge for youth-led firms than firms with older leaders. The chapter finds that Aid for Trade programmes which improve access to financial services for youth entrepreneurs, and improve the skills of young people, promote SME competitiveness for trade while helping young people find gainful employment.
International Trade Centre (ITC)