UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore rang the closing bell at the National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) on Friday to stress the need for investing in children and young people. Present at the ceremony were Vikram Limaye, Managing Director, National Stock Exchange, Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, Country Representative, UNICEF India and Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of OYO Rooms.
Ms Fore said “Indian businesses increasingly understand that shared value – the idea that ‘doing good’ is ‘good business’ – is best created through supporting healthier, better educated and more prosperous populations. Businesses don’t need to profit at the expense of communities – but they can profit because the communities in which they operate, and the people who live there, are well-served and well-supported by the local business community.”
During a panel discussion panellists discussed how businesses can collaborate with organizations such as UNICEF and the NSE to create solutions for children and young people. The discussion also highlighted how businesses can do more to counter gender stereotypes and counter social barriers that reinforce gender inequalities in the workforce. Panellists pointed out that there is a need for urgent investment in education and skills training to meet the skill gaps among the rapidly growing global population of adolescents and young people.
Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO, NSE said, “A focused strategy on inclusive business models such as innovative social enterprises, cooperatives, self-help collectives, public-private partnerships and so on that would allow for the financial empowerment of the excluded categories such as women, elderly and other marginalised communities. Innovation in creating such equitable business models would be a key driver of business growth so that the profits and benefits of business percolate to a wider ecosystem. NSE through NSE Foundation strongly believes in supporting interventions which are focused, innovative and impact the poorest of poor, marginalised and disadvantaged communities which are part of India’s developmental landscape today.”
Ritesh Agarwal, CEO and Founder of OYO Rooms said “The potential of what we young people can do knows no boundaries. What we need are opportunities and the right skills. I am committed to supporting UNICEF’s efforts in any way that might be possible.”
Equitable investments in young people are increasingly seen as one of the best and most valuable long-term investments governments and businesses can make. Investing in young people is important on practical grounds as it yields positive benefits to economies and societies.
In New Delhi earlier this week UNICEF together with Niti Aayog launched YuWaah! – a platform bringing together young people, government, civil society and the private sector to co-create solutions that can accelerate the much-needed changes for young people.