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A Framework for Action

Over the years, YES has initiated over 400 programs worldwide to promote youth employability and employment creation. YES has developed a dual approach to deepen its impact. First, YES networks organize training and capacity-building programs. Second, networks enable youth to create sustainable job opportunities in specific sectors.

YES Methodology

Two core design principles driving YES’s low-touch and high-impact approach are:

  1. Recognizing that no single individual or institution can do the work alone: working in partnership is essential;
  2. Building self-reliance and absorption capacity in our YES Network countries.

We believe that empowering young people to find their purpose inspires creative innovative action and a drive to learn and do. By inspiring YES Country Networks—intergenerational and multi-stakeholder groups led by youth—and providing resources, we bring these principles to life. We connect these Networks to governments, donors, and partners among others. By maintaining strong, active collaboration between our partners and Network Leaders YES helps design, implement and evaluate projects. Our encouraging and engaging support in bringing learning from other effective practices and new ideas to the table enriches the program.

Over the last 13 years, YES has worked to assemble a global action network of over 30,000 youth leaders around the world. We must capitalize on this treasure and empower these leaders by developing in-country architectures for the Enterprise Studios, and YouthTrade Innovation Studios. This will help create the building blocks for an entrepreneurial culture and fostering entrepreneurship through creating branded access to markets.

This Framework for Action circa 2012 builds on our commitment to provide a low-touch—high-impact approach to empower youth as leaders, entrepreneurs and nation builders.

What Our Programs Will Do and How We Know Yes We Can:

Enterprise Studio / Two Functions:

  1. Convene Stakeholders: to co-create effective programs and policies, and provide technical support and knowledge ‘best practice’ resources to pilot new ideas and scale ‘what works’. YES we Can: YES has been hosting consultations, design meetings and Summits since 1998.

  2. Entrepreneurship Education: working to re-purpose educational institutions as enterprise generators to teach entrepreneurship, provide business development services, and pilot new ideas. YES we Can: YES Mexico through the Foundation E has successfully demonstrated the power of teaching entrepreneurship through a hub and spoke model that certifies existing organizations such as NGOs, universities, chambers of commerce etc. to offer the services to youth in their communities – this allows for rapid replication. Mexico Business incubators for rural and urban settings: Pioneered by YES Mexico/Foundation E, this approach uses existing local institutions to establish new kinds of business incubators designed to support rural and urban entrepreneurs with training, access to finance and innovative Business Development Services. An average of 4000 new businesses a year have been created during the past five years.


YouthTrade is an exciting new initiative of YES in partnership with Conscious Capitalism Institute. Like Fair Trade - YouthTrade™ aims to be an organized social movement in that will create dedicated markets for goods and services produced by young entrepreneurs under 18 – 35 years. The core irresistible proposition is that by promoting goods and service of triple bottom-line (people, planet, profits) young entrepreneurs, and by persuading consumers to try YouthTrade™ products, we the people will POWER a revolution that will generate large scale youth entrepreneurship and be an inspiring platform for young and old. 

The YouthTrade™ Model: Three interlinked stakeholders:

  1. The Supplier: A young entrepreneur (under 35) who joins as a member of YouthTrade™ and receives certification of their products – the YouthTrade™ Entrepreneur.
  2. The Retailer: A retailer such as Whole Foods Market – who commits to placing YouthTrade™ certified products on their shelves- the YouthTrade™ Retailer.

  3. The Consumer: a buyer who commits to buying YouthTrade™ products as a small percentage of their regular purchases – the YouthTrade™ Consumer.

Fully looped strategy: Ensures that Entrepreneurs’ products (for example Runa tea) finds a Retailer (Whole Foods Market) for selling their product, and the Retailer (Whole Foods Market) enables a consumer (any one of us) to buy that product. In addition to building the demand side, the team will launch an extensive media campaign to promote YouthTrade™ entrepreneurs and YouthTrade™ retailers – we hope to set up YouthTrade™ chapters in universities and other outlets to create buzz and a new way to do business. We are at a defining moment in time and the creation of this new structure brings great energy and enthusiasm.

YouthTrade provides a sustainable market for YouthTrade certified goods and services of young entrepreneurs under the age of 35. YES we Can: Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Region will be the first YouthTrade Retailer, hosting the YouthTrade Summit on March 15 and 16, and launching YouthTrade products at their stores by May 21. In addition, the Massachusetts Economic Development Department is offering YES a challenge grant to set up the YouthTrade Innovation Studio in Boston. The African Capacity Building Foundation is investing in setting up the YouthTrade Nigeria™ Innovation Studio.