Opening Remarks at APEC Young Leaders And Entrepreneurs Forum

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, 09 September 2002
  • Opening Remarks by Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, Deputy Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Your Excellencies,
Minister of Education
Director General of the Mexican Youth Institute
Governor of the State of Nuevo Leon
Mayor of Monterrey
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Government of the State of Nuevo Leon for the wonderful hospitality accorded to me. I would also like to congratulate the Mexican Youth Institute for organizing this important Forum which brings our future leaders together and aims at keeping the spirit of entrepreneurship alive. And it is my honour to take part in this Forum.
APEC has always recognized the importance of young people as the engine of growth for the region. In fact, among the working groups set up in APEC's early years, the Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) was specifically tasked to focus on issues to better prepare young people for their future roles in society. APEC progressively recognized the need to involve them in its activities as a stakeholder in APEC's future.
For example, in 1993 when APEC Leaders met for the first time, they agreed to embark on what became known as the APEC Leaders Education Initiative to enhance regional education cooperation with outcomes still thriving today, among them are the APEC Education Foundation (www.apecef.org) which provides support to education-related activities, and the APEC Study Centers Consortium (http://www.apecsec.org.sg/asc/aschome.html) which links education, research and training institutions in the region.
There were also several initiatives within the HRDWG as well as those launched by member economies that relate to young people.
I would like to encourage our young leaders here today to keep abreast of APEC activities by visiting the APEC Secretariat website at www.apecsec.org.sg so that you can be a part of exciting events such as this.
Now allow me to focus on young entrepreneurs. It was in 2000 that the link between young people and entrepreneurship was given a higher profile. Recognizing that the long-term strategy for enhancing SMEs' capabilities is to cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship and business skills amongst the young population, a forum was held for young entrepreneurs in Brunei Darussalam where they exchanged ideas, experiences and established crucial networking skills.
In the following year in 2001, China and Canada co-hosted the Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs Forum in Beijing and Shanghai to increase opportunities to enable young entrepreneurs to share experiences for innovation, trade and investment. More than 200 representatives from all 21 APEC economies took part in the event with 70% being young entrepreneurs. It was also strongly felt at its conclusion that such gatherings will promote cooperation among the region's young entrepreneurs and lead to numerous business opportunities.
This year, Mexico as APEC host is leading APEC in meeting the challenges and opportunities posed by the prevailing global economic environment under the theme Expanding the Benefits of Cooperation for Economic Growth and Development - Implementing the Vision. Under this theme, APEC continues to be a relevant forum by fostering greater participation by young people, and also to focus on building capacities and taking as well as providing opportunities with the rise of the New Economy.
The theme of this Forum - Business Development with Social Responsibility - is timely. It contributes to the year's theme to promote trade and investment as well as capacity building, and reflects a global outlook which is both entrepreneurial and responsible. I am confident that with the able leadership of Mexico not only as the host of this Forum but also as the APEC Chair for the whole Mexican year, we can look forward to animated discussions and innovative ideas in the days ahead.
I wish all of you the best in your deliberations, and for a successful Forum.
Thank you.