Microfinance Youth Entrepreneurship Program Manual

Highlighting the importance of youth entrepreneurship programs
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This manual, published by the Katalysis Network, a network of 21 MFIs in Central America, lays out the basic steps for creating an MFI youth program. It also provides tools to ensure that youth entrepreneurial programs achieve their goals.

Currently, half of Central America'’s population is under 18 years of age. Any development effort must focus on youth, as they are the majority, the most underrepresented, and the most disadvantaged population in finding employment. The manual states that:

  • Youth have the least access to financing for their businesses, and they are the most likely to make wide-scale economic and equity changes in their countries;
  • In the short-term, youth entrepreneurship programs create jobs;
  • In the long-term, such programs change the economic structure of society by giving the poorest of the poor their fair share of opportunities;
  • Youth unemployment is a serious problem in Central America and the world;
  • Youth Entrepreneurship is a sustainable solution to unemployment, and responds to market changes by creating a dynamic responsive workforce.

The manual presents guidelines for clientele selection, training, technical assistance and mentorship, financing and financial mechanisms for MFIs.