The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation will host Youth Co:Lab, a program supporting youth-led social innovation and entrepreneurship, in Japan again this year!
We’re calling for innovative business ideas with an aim to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020. As the world is being impacted by COVID-19, we strive to support social entrepreneurs who aim to tackle the challenges of the society and their own communities in this critical situation. Come join the network of innovators in Asia and the Pacific and get a chance to develop your business ideas.
- What is Youth Co:Lab?
Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to empower and invest in youth, to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.
Youth Co:Lab projects have been implemented in 25 countries and territories across the Asia-Pacific region and the initiative has benefitted over 7,120 young social entrepreneurs and helped launch or accelerate nearly 650 social enterprises.
- What is Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020?
Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020 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 screening process will pitch their solutions at the “Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020.” Winners from the Japan contest will have the opportunity to join the Springboard Programme and the top two teams from the Springboard Programme will be invited to attend the Youth Co:Lab Asia-Pacific Summit which will take place in Spring 2021.
- 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 and Citi Group’s network in the 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 the Spring of 2021, will bring together over 1,000 delegates, including hundreds of youth, partners and government officials from 28 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 28 countries and territories, will pitch and showcase their social enterprises and ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. You can see summary reports from the summit held in 2019 in Viet Nam here.
- Social Innovation Challenge Process and Schedule:
- 5 Aug (Weds): Applications open
- 5 Oct (Mon) Noon: Applications close
- End of Oct: Announcement of the results of the 1st screening (paper application)
2nd Screening/Final Pitch
- Early Nov: Submission deadline for the 2nd screening (pitch videos)/Announcements of finalists for the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020
- 24 Nov (Tues): Finalists present their business plans at the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020. Announcement of the award winners.
Accelerator Programme & the Asia-Pacific Summit
- Mid-January 2021: Commencement of the Springboard Programme
- Spring 2021: The top 2 teams to participate in the Youth Co:Lab Asia-Pacific Summit. Announcement of regional winners and various prizes.
- Application Requirements:
- You must be older than 18 and younger than 35 years old on 1 August 2020 (High School students are not eligible to apply)
- Japanese national, or a resident of Japan who have lived in Japan for more than 3 years
- 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 2020 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.
- Judging Criteria:
- SDG contribution: Social impact and innovative approach of the solution
- Business model: Feasibility and sustainability of the business model
- 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 Asia-Pacific Summit.
- How to Apply:
Please prepare and send your application in either English or Japanese (either in Word or PDF under 20MB) email@example.com by the deadline. Please download application form from below link;
Application form in English
Application form in Japanese
[1st screening] We will inform the results of your application to all applicants regardless of the outcome.
[2nd screening] We will inform the details of the 2nd screening (pitch videos) only to those who pass the 1st screening. We will inform the results of your 2nd application to all applicants.
Awards for the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020 include Youth Co:Lab Japan Excellence Award, Audience’s Choice Award, Award for Regional 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 Asia-Pacific Summit which will take place in spring 2021.
- “Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020” Judges:
Experts in business, social entrepreneurship and international development will serve as judges for the Social Innovation Challenge Japan:
- Mr. Daisuke Takatsuki, Director, Principal, CVC Asia Pacific Japan / Representative Director, Social Invest Partners
- Ms. Atsuko Suzuki, Director, Secretary General, NPO ETIC.
- Mr. Taro Tabata, Senior Executive Officer, Co-Head of Investment Banking, Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory, Citigroup Global Markets Japan
- Mr. Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist, Civil Society and Youth, Governance and Peace Building Team, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub
- Special Support:
If you require any special support participating in the “Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020”, please tell us the kind of support you require on the application form.
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 2020”. We will give tips on filling out the application form and answer any questions you may have. This session is held in Japanese. To request for a briefing in English, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 15 September 2020 (Tue) 19:00 - 20:00
Max cap: 30 people
Participation fee: free
Registration from here
List of events of “Youth Co:Lab Japan 2020”
We will hold all events online to keep participants safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Details of each event and how to sign up will be disclosed on UNDP’s website as soon as they become available. Please note that the details of programs are subject to change.