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Letter from the President

On May 21 2012 we will make history with our beloved partners Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Region by launching YouthTrade Certified products at all 28 stores...the person we want to thank for this amazing opportunity is Kimberley Rose, Vice President Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Region.

In addition I must thank Reeta Roy, President MasterCard Foundation for giving YES an opportunity to reinvent itself.  I also want to aknowledge Frannie Leautier, Executive Secretary, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) – who fathoms deeply – the architectures that are needed to build capacity in African countries for getting young people off the street into productive work. It is with the innovative support of ACBF that YES is able to begin the implementation of our Strategic Plan.

We are grateful to have reached 2012, the year that completes our tenacious and ambitious pursuit and effort to place youth employment powerfully on the global agenda. We have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Through this journey we have built a low-touch, high-impact architecture together with our country networks and members worldwide. We are now ready more than ever before to shift our focus from agenda setting and seeding projects to developing in-country architecture through our 3 new initiatives:

  1. YouthTrade Innovation Studio (US and Nigeria): provides a branded and focused access to markets for youth under the age of 35 years, co-founded with our dear friends Shubhro Sen, and Raj Sisodia leaders of the Conscious Capitalism Institute. In partnership with Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Region in the US; and in partnership with African Capacity Building Foundation and KIND in Nigeria. And with African Capacity Building Foundation and Synapse in Senegal.
  2. Enterprise Studio: working with diverse in-country stakeholders to develop plans, host conversations, and pilot good ideas –getting our youth to dream and helping them follow their dreams. This project will be piloted in Senegal – in partnership with African Capacity Building Foundation, CEPOD and Synapse.
  3. Enterprise Generator: setting up in-country entrepreneurship education centers, organizing Youth Summits, offering one-year social entrepreneurship Intensives. This is being piloted in Mali in in partnership with African Capacity Building Foundation, CERCAP and the Ministry of Youth.

I urge you to nominate youth entrepreneurs under the age of 35 to participate in the YouthTrade Summit hosted by the Whole Foods Market in Boston on March 15 – 16, 2012 which will lead up to a full-scale launch on May 2021 of approved YouthTrade products in the New England Whole Foods Markets. The application is on-line on the YES website.

We invite you to join us on our new journey to transform the world through supporting youth entrepreneurs and their products. Let’s keep our dreams alive.

In Solidarity,

Poonam Ahluwalia

President YES.