Young entrepreneurs are the business stars of tomorrow, and need to be encouraged and supported. This is the vision of Youth Business International (YBI), a global network of organisations from 40 countries helping young people to start and grow businesses, and create employment for their communities – an important mission in today’s economic climate.
Salesforce Sales Cloud and Chatter are used by the network team in London to improve efficiency, give greater visibility and plan smarter. In addition, the applications provide essential tools for member organisations around the world – many of which have struggled in the past to access the technology they need to support growth. “The cloud and the Salesforce Foundation 1:1:1 model are breaking down all the technological barriers to growth previously experienced by social organisations. Salesforce.com is transforming our network and the experience of the young people we support,” says COO Maarten Rooney.
Today, salesforce.com touches all 40 countries in the network. Twelve of these countries are tracking the entire lifecycle of their relationships with young people, including processes such as mentor and entrepreneur applications, assignments, training event management and loan provision. Eunice Ogolo, Program Manager of Kenya Youth Business Trust says, “With less time spent retrieving client records and generating reports, our service to young entrepreneurs is more efficient. Having Salesforce has also increased our data credibility, and this was a key reason why we were recently able to win funding from a major donor.”
And there’s no doubt that salesforce.com is helping YBI’s member organisations expand their offering for local entrepreneurs. Ortal Goldfarb, Client Relationship Manager at Keren Shemesh in Israel commented, “This is what allowed us to switch from servicing 100 entrepreneurs, to providing service to 300+ entrepreneurs per year.”
The latest phase of the project saw the launch of Salesforce Communities to YBI’s member organisations at its Summit event on Global Youth Entrepreneurship, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from delegates for enabling them to network and share during the event. Plans to roll Communities out to the network as a permanent space for knowledge sharing are now underway. “Communities is going to help us centralise and gather new knowledge in a way we’ve never done before. By collaborating with the network to crowd-source knowledge online, we will be faster, smarter, and more able to respond to the changing needs of the young people we support,” explains Jonny Elliot, who oversees the salesforce.com programme at YBI.
The YBI network aims to reach 100,000 young people by 2020, and Rooney is clear that technology is an important strategic asset in accomplishing this goal. He concludes: “Salesforce.com has been such an important piece of the puzzle for us, and we’re keen to find new ways to demonstrate its benefits to all the members who aren’t yet using it to its full potential. We see this as a crucial step in expanding the YBI network and – ultimately – improving our ability to reach lots more young entrepreneurs.”