In September of 2015, the United Nations adopted seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs aim to ensure that global development in the next 15 years is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. These goals were unanimously adopted by the UN’s 193 member states.

While entrepreneurship has a role to play in many of the goals, it has a particular impact on Goal 8: “Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.”

Goal 8 Facts

  • Global unemployment increased by nearly 19% between 2007 and 2012, from 170 million to nearly 202 million. 75 million of the unemployed are young people.
  • Nearly 2.2 billion people live on less than $2 a day.
  • Businesses and governments will need to create 470 million jobs for new entrants into the job market by 2030.

Goal 8 Targets

Goal 8 has an aggressive target of achieving full global employment by 2030. In the nearer term, Goal 8 aims to “reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training” by 2020. Another target for goal 8 is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation “and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.”

How do SMEs affect Goal 8?

If the UN is to come close to achieving the objectives laid out in its Sustainable Development Goals, it will need help from the private sector. According to the World Bank:

Formal SMEs contribute up to 45 percent of total employment and up to 33 percent of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included.
SMEs will be a critical factor in whether the world can attain full employment by 2030.

ICSB 2016 at the UN

ICSB 2016 gets its start at United Nations headquarters on Thursday, June 16. Our first conference session will address the role of SMEs in helping the world achieve the UN SDGs, including Goal 8.

ICSB 2016 invites you to join us at the UN and at our subsequent sessions and events at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Register today to secure your seat at the conference.