In connecting Citi volunteers to Ye! entrepreneurs for Global Community Day, knowledge and insights were shared across, borders, cultures, and demographics!

Last month, Ye! joined forces with the Citi Alumni Network for Global Community Day. Initiated by the Ye! team and the Citi Alumni Pathways to Progress Initiative, it was the first time such a collaboration was undertaken. The collaboration sought to link experts from the Citi community to youth entrepreneurs from around the globe in a trans-national knowledge sharing initiative. Citi volunteers also participated by sharing a short video with tips, tricks and hot takes for young entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. The collaboration was successful in building linkages that will extend beyond the Community Day collaboration due in no small part to Citi volunteers’ commitments and desire to give back.

In total 45 young entrepreneurs were linked to Citi volunteers and 3 Hot Takes! videos were received. Citi volunteers came from the United States, Europe, South America, South East Asia, and the Middle East. The entrepreneurs were by and large concentrated in the Middle East and throughout Africa. Entrepreneurs were linked with a Citi volunteer based on a variety of factors including their location, language, and alignment between the areas of interest to the entrepreneur and the volunteers’ areas of expertise. Sessions discussed a range of topics including: digital marketing, budgeting and financial planning, business strategy, scaling, and fundraising, to name just a few.

Between June 1st and 8th entrepreneurs and volunteers were connected, and discussions began. Following an initial conversation, volunteers and entrepreneurs held a recorded coaching session using a few different mediums such as Skype, Zoom, or WhatsApp video calling. These recorded coaching sessions were then submitted to the Ye! team to be published across its various channels on June 8th – Citi Global Community Day.

In connecting via video conferencing, many entrepreneurs and Citi volunteers faced difficulty in recording their coaching sessions. This was often due to issues with internet connectivity. In true entrepreneurial form however, many found work arounds and were able to hold their sessions, overcoming the technology barriers. Many decided to go ahead and hold the coaching sessions without recording and instead shared the materials used. Take the example of this presentation shared by Ana Havriciuc on Alternative Financing. Needless to say, many pairs expressed they were still satisfied with the resulting discussion.

Taking these issues into consideration for future initiatives, it may be simpler to hold coaching sessions without recording and utilize a different method for sharing the results of the collaborations. Something to consider for future iterations. In light of the variety of barriers faced by volunteers and entrepreneurs in connecting trans-nationally, the initiative met its goal of meaningfully linking Citi volunteers and young entrepreneurs. We were happy to see that there was less than a 10% attrition rate once coaches and entrepreneurs had confirmed to work together.

The greatest success of the Ye! and Citi collaboration for Global Community Day was learning that many volunteers and entrepreneurs plan to continue working together. Ye! has provided a helpful framework for structuring their discussions moving forward to set in place achievable milestones and actionable items. Following Global Community Day, we heard from many Citi volunteers and entrepreneurs alike how grateful they were for the connection and how fruitful they felt the conversations had been.

On behalf of all the Ye! entrepreneurs located around the world, thank you to the Citi volunteers for taking the time to give back to the next generation of innovators and changemakers. Let’s do this again next year!

Below we share a sampling of the coaching sessions which were recorded and published for Citi Global Community Day. To see all the videos, visit the Ye! Community YouTube Channel.

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