The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation will host Youth Co:Lab, the largest program in the Asia-Pacific region supporting youth-led social innovation and entrepreneurship for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Youth Co:Lab Japan 2019 will convene the first-ever Japan National Dialogue and Social Innovation Challenge on 12 October 2019 at the United Nations University Headquarters Building (in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo), with the participation of a few hundred social entrepreneurs, business professionals, youth leaders, government officials, civil society representatives and academia.

Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to empower and invest in youth, so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Over the last two years, Youth Co:Lab projects have been implemented in 20 countries and territories across the region, with national dialogues, regional summits and social innovation challenges reaching over 48,000 participants. The initiative has benefitted over 2,500 young social entrepreneurs and helped launch or improve nearly 500 social enterprises.

  1. What is Social Innovation Challenge?
    Social Innovation Challenge is a business idea contest where selected teams will pitch and showcase their SDG-focused business models and ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. The individuals and teams who passed the paper screening will pitch their solutions at the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019 held during Youth Co:Lab Japan 2019 on 12 October. Award-winners from the Japan contest will have the opportunity to join the Springboard Programme and the top 2 teams from the Springboard Programme will be invited to attend the Youth Co:Lab Regional Summit which will take place in April 2020.
  2. Social Innovation Challenge Process and Schedule
    1st Phase
    • 8 Aug (Thur): Applications open
    • 17 Sep (Tues): Applications close
    • End of Sep: Announcement of finalists for the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019
    2nd Phase
    • Early Oct: Submission deadline for finalists’ PowerPoint presentations
      *We will support presentation preparation as needed
    • 12 Oct (Sat): Finalists present their business plans at the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019. Announcement of the award winners
    Final Phase
    • Mid-January 2020: Commencement of the Springboard Programme
    • Early-April: End of the Springboard Programme/ Selection of the top 2 teams to participate in the Youth Co:Lab Asia-Pacific Summit
    • 13 to 17 April (TBC): The top 2 teams to participate in the Youth Co:Lab Asia-Pacific Summit. Announcement of regional winners and various prizes.
  3. Application Requirements:
    1. You must be older than 18 and younger than 35 years old on 1 August 2019 (Highschool students are not eligible to apply)
    2. Japanese national, or a resident of Japan who have lived in Japan for more than 5 years
    3. You have a business plan that is either in an idea stage, preparation stage, or in operation for less than three years.
    • *Application and final presentation at the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019 can be done either in English or Japanese. Springboard Programme as well as Youth Co:Lab Asia-Pacific Summit in Malaysia will be held in English
    • *Application can be submitted as an individual or in a team. If you are applying as a team, the lead representative of the team must meet the above eligibility requirements.
  4. Judging Criteria:
    1. SDG contribution: Social impact and innovative approach of the solution
    2. Business model: Feasibility and sustainability of the business model
    3. Passion and vision as an entrepreneur
    • *Since the Springboard programme and Youth Co:Lab Regional Summit will be held only in English, we will consider your skill and willingness to communicate in an English-speaking environment for the selection of participants to the Springboard programme and the Regional Summit.
  5. How to Apply:
    Please prepare an application in either English or Japanese, convert to pdf, and send to event.japan@undp.org by the deadline. Please download application form from below link;
    Application form in English
    Application form in Japanese
  6. Prize:
    Awards for the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019 include Youth Co:Lab Japan Excellence Award, Audience’s Choice Award, Award for Scalability Potential, among others. All award-winners will have an opportunity to join the Springboard programme. The top 2 teams (1 representative per team) from the Springboard Programme will be invited to join the Youth Co:Lab Regional Summit which will take place in spring 2020.
    • Springboard Programme
      The regional springboard programme is a follow up programme that provides a showcasing platform for young social entrepreneurs from over 25 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region, who are winners of the national challenges of the countries of origin. The programme consists of mini-exercises to brush up business ideas and provides mentoring, matching and communication support from UNDP’s network in Asia-Pacific region, who are leading experts in social innovation and entrepreneurship. We will also provide support in preparation of presentations in English.
    • Youth Co:Lab Asia-Pacific Summit
      The Asia-Pacific Summit, planned for mid-April 2020 in Malaysia, will bring together over 500 delegates, including hundreds of youth, partners and government officials from 25 countries, to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences, to influence policy initiatives on youth entrepreneurship and social innovation.
      The summit will conclude with the Youth Co:Lab Regional Social Innovation Challenge, where teams, pre-selected during the national social innovation challenges held across 25 countries and territories respectively, will pitch and showcase their social enterprises and ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. You can see summary reports from last year’s summit in Viet Nam here.
  7. “Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019” Judges:
    Experts in SDG business, social entrepreneurship and international development will serve as judges for the Social Innovation Challenge Japan:
    • Ms Atsuko Suzuki, Director, ETIC.
    • Ms Yumiko Watanabe, Director, Head of Public Sector and Corporate Banking, Citibank
    • Mr Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist on Civil Society and Youth, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub (BRH)
    • Other judges to be announced!
  8. Special Support:
    If you require any special support attending the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019, please tell us the kind of support you require on the application form. Please feel free to consult with us if you need support for your trip to the event.

Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019 Orientation Session
We will hold an orientation session for those who are thinking to apply to the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019. We will give tips on filling out the application form and answer any questions you may have.
Date:8/19/2019 (Mon)18:30~20:00
Place: UNU 5F Meeting Room
Max cap:30 people
Participation fee: free
Registration from here

Co-organized by

UNDP Representation Office in Tokyo

Citi Foundation

Supported by
ETIC. (Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representation Office in Tokyo (Ms.Yuko Oaku, Youth Engagement Consultant)
Telephone: 03-5467-4751
Email: event.japan@undp.org

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