Craftswomen sketching on a workbench

'Youth Entrepreneurship Policy: Contemporary Challenges and Ways Forward' workshop

Join us for a free interactive workshop to discuss the effective ways to support young people, exploring the challenges and opportunities that youth entrepreneurship can offer as a route to meaningful employment.

Hosted by: Brett Centre for Entrepreneurship (BCfE) in collaboration with the Organisation for Economics Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Open to: policy makers, private and public support bodies, community organisations and academics

Date: Wednesday 12 June 2024

Time: 12 - 4pm

Place: The Brett Building, 19 Abercromby Square, Liverpool L7 7BD

Cost: free

The event

This event draws together key experts in youth entrepreneurship, culminating in the launch of a new policy report that sets out a new agenda for those interested in promoting youth entrepreneurship.

'Youth Entrepreneurship Policy: Contemporary Challenges and Ways Forward' policy paper

During the presentation of his latest policy paper, BCfE Director, Professor Robert Blackburn, will unveil the case for a step-change in support for young people which considers and meets the array of challenges they encounter when trying to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Notably, the paper provides evidence of an intentions gap among young people, with four times as many reporting they would like their own business, than those who actually do so.

The policy paper also includes recommendations on how government and relevant bodies can and should attune their efforts to support young people in overcoming these barriers. 

Keynote speakers

Prior to the policy paper presentation, young entrepreneur and ABJAK Founder, Rudy Parengal, will also take part in the event to discuss the reality of starting a business and the type of support on offer, identifying its strengths and weaknesses.

He will be followed by OECD's Project Coordinator for Inclusive and Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Dr David Halabisky, who will share the organisation's experiences and programmes focused on young people, including the Youth Entrepreneurship Academy

Finally, Management School's Professor of Entrepreneurship, Dilani Jayawarna, will provide evidence on youth entrepreneurship in the context of a developing economy setting like Sri Lanka, illustrating the similarities and differences young people face compared to those in developed countries.  



Arrival and Light Lunch


Welcome and Introduction: Professor Robert Blackburn (ULMS)


The Voice of Youth Entrepreneurship: Challenges and Opportunities: 

Rudy Parengal (ABJAK)


A view from the OECD - The YEPA project: Dr David Halabisky (OECD)


Refreshment break


Youth Entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka: Professor Dilani Jayawarna (ULMS)


Launch of The Youth Entrepreneurship Policy Paper: Professor Robert Blackburn (ULMS)

 followed by Q&A session


Closing Remarks and Ways Forward


Speakers bios

Professor Robert Blackburn

Rob is a highly distinguished entrepreneurship Professor and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Liverpool Management School and Director of the BCfE.

His research interests include examining the behaviour of small firms, the people involved (self-employed, entrepreneurs, business owners), their motivations and ambitions, strategies, and interactions with their environments.

Rob has published studies in all the leading entrepreneurship journals including Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice and Journal of Business Venturing and is also Editor-in-chief of the International Small Business Journal.

Rudy Parengal

Rudy is the founder of ABJAK, a food-tech start-up building authentic food brands through automated cloud kitchens.

He is also an award-winning change management consultant with a master’s degree in international business from the University of Liverpool.

Dr David Halabisky

David is a project co-ordinator in the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities.

He is currently working on several projects related to entrepreneurship policy, including a multi-year project on inclusive entrepreneurship and is the main author of the Missing Entrepreneurs reports.

Prior to joining the OECD, David worked for more than a decade in the Canadian Public Service where he worked on SME policy at the Federal Ministries of Industry, Finance and Labour.

He has won several awards during his career, including a Best Paper Prize from the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, and has degrees in economics from the University of British Columbia and McMaster University.

Professor Dliani Jayawarna

Dilani is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Liverpool Management School.

Her research is largely in the area of entrepreneurship and small business management with specific interest in resourcing the business start-up process.

Dilani has published several papers on this topic from different perspectives and has consolidated this work and developed it into a book project.

Dilani is currently looking at a new area of entrepreneurship research - entrepreneurial life course, aiming to develop theory about entrepreneurial opportunity structures and their relationship to broader social structures.

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