20 November, 2013, SPARK launched the first platform for cooperation on entrepreneurship development in conflict affected environments with their IGNITE! conference. From bankers, to NGO professionals, to ex-combatants, IGNITE! brought together an inspiring group of people to focus on creating economic stability in post-conflict states. IGNITE! highlights Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurs, job creators and startups around the world.

Yannick du Pont, SPARK Director says, “A lot of innovative partnerships will result from today’s event; we are bringing together entrepreneurs, multinational corporations, NGOs and government officials to create integrated programming to ensure job creation is put at the forefront of the global agenda and improve economic growth in post-conflict states.”

Speakers from Chevron, the International Labour Organization, the IFC’s Conflict Affected States in Africa (CASA) Initiative and more have come together to discuss how to best create economic opportunities for young men and women in fragile environments.

With the knowledge that job creation can contribute to social cohesion and peace, Chid Liberty, CEO of Liberty & Justice, “…I feel like I’m at the epicentre of some great minds and some great hearts in really figuring out how we can break down some of the barriers entrepreneurs face in post-conflict states.”

Colin Shepherd, Head of Conflict Affected States in Africa at IFC, “IGNITE! has brought together the right people to talk about youth entrepreneurship from a fragile conflict state lens and a stronger focus on the beneficiaries versus the institutions.”

Mustafa Sagizly, Director of Warrior Affairs Commission, “The prophet Muhammad worked for his wife, a female entrepreneur. We need to revitalise this tradition.”

Vin Morar, Enterprise Development Specialist from the University of Twente, “We need to create a culture of enterprise and start targeting youth in early education.”

Concluding that creating a culture of entrepreneurship in all environments is important, IGNITE! marks the beginning of a diverse community of people from the private and public sector that will shape the future of youth entrepreneurship.