People-powered innovation and skilled workers build a flourishing private sector. The capacity-building of enterprises to expand and employ, meanwhile, is vital, creating a win-win situation for the humans of the economy and its entities.
Supporting the Gig Economy
As Millennials lead the sharing economy around the world and Generation Z begins to join the workforce, it has become more crucial than ever to support the expansion and skills development of freelancers and independent contractors in developing economies.
Job creation is no longer about creating full-time employment opportunities exclusively, but also finding “gig” jobs and freelance assignments for those who enjoy or need flexible working hours.
In developing markets, part-time, consulting, and the so-called “gig economy jobs” are limited and less familiar as options for recruitment. These challenges demand that freelancers look beyond the local market to find suitable profit-generating contracts.
Nevertheless, the skills and capabilities of these freelancers and individual contractors may need to be improved first to enhance and elevate their global competitiveness.
One of Leaders International’s strategies in coping with the new economics of employment is bolstering the talent pool by integrating international quality standards into skills development schemes.
Through our partners and vast network of experts, we have developed the capacity of hundreds of freelancers to secure profitable contracts at the global level.
Education for Economic Growth
The workers and innovators of tomorrow are created today. Skilled employees, experts, and entrepreneurs in the workforce all typically started their career journeys as university students. The level of education and the culture they experience during their studies determine the level of creativity and innovation they can later add to the labour market.
In developing countries, the traditional education system and the conventional methods of conducting business pose significant limitations to:
- The generation of disruptive ideas
- Providing quality services
- And competing at an international scale
Before graduates can head to the market as freelancers, entrepreneurs, or employees, they have to acquire the right skill set, global outlook, exposure and entrepreneurial mindset. That is why Leaders International, through its partners in academia and advocacy efforts, integrates the principles of innovation into the curricula of different university subjects.
Empowering Refugees and Host Communities
Armed conflicts and the increasing immigration of the workforce between countries in the Middle East and North Africa is adding to the region’s economic burdens. The burden is reciprocal, in which one country loses its skilled labour and the other hosts a higher number of would-be workers that it can employ.
Countries like Jordan have assumed a great responsibility to provide essential services to refugees and facilitate their livelihoods’ development through work permits. According to UNHCR, Jordan issued hundreds of thousands of work permits for Syrian refugees in the past few years, which in turn called for more economic interventions to control the competition between refugee workers and Jordanian workers.
While unemployment continues to be an intractable problem, SMEs and startups offer the most significant opportunities for job creation when compared to large enterprises or the public sector. Hence, Leaders International relishes the opportunity to develop the capacity of SMEs to employ more immigrants and specifically households that are headed up by women.
At the same time, Leaders International builds the capacity of refugees themselves as well as host communities, and promotes their employability in the region.
We work closely with all actors of development to minimise the skills gap between refugees’ capacities and MSMEs’ recruitment needs, with upskilling interventions and re-skilling (including apprenticeships) whenever necessary.
We do so without compromising the employability of the local workforce or jarring social cohesion between refugees and host communities, which will ultimately improve the livelihoods of both. Inclusivity in this matter is our guiding light.
Being an enabler for at least seven of the UN sustainable development goals, financial inclusion is a poverty alleviator and prosperity booster. However, about 1.7 billion adults in the world – half of them women living in rural areas – are unbankable.
Financial inclusion provides individuals and businesses with responsible, sustainable, and adequate access to financial services and products that can facilitate their transactions, payments, savings, and insurance.
As an economic and innovation actor in the region, Leaders International seeks to facilitate an inclusive access to credit for startups, freelancers, home-based businesses, MSMEs and, more specifically, unbankable youth and women in marginalised communities and rural areas.
Access to finance, in the form of access to financial services and access to investment, helps entrepreneurs in developing economies launch and expand their businesses, secure funding and upgrade their living standards.
Accordingly, we work at the innovation ecosystem and policy levels to make more financial services available for enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Through sustainable business linkages, we guide and enable small enterprises to utilise financial services to engage in more business transactions locally and internationally.
Leaders International does not only provide its beneficiaries with financial assistance through grants, it also gives them access to a wide array of donors, investors, VCs, banks and other credit providers in their region and abroad.
In doing so, we ensure a constant collaboration with other financial-inclusion actors and regulators – public, private, and civil society – to mobilise as many resources as possible to advance the financial inclusion agenda in line with different national strategies.