Tokyo, Japan - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation announced the launch of Youth Co:Lab Japan for 2020, which supports youth-led social innovation and entrepreneurship for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Entries are now being accepted for the SDGs entrepreneurship contest, “Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020” – a principal part of this program. The deadline is 12:00 noon on Monday, October 5.

Details of “Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020” are available on UNDP Tokyo’s website.

“Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2019” received more than 50 entries from around Japan, with the eight groups that passed the primary selection process to become finalists presenting their business ideas to around 150 participants and judges. This year, the event will endeavor to shine a light on social entrepreneurs taking on issues in their own communities as the world combats COVID-19.

Co-created by UNDP and Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab is the largest youth-led social entrepreneurship movement driving the implementation of the SDGs in the Asia-Pacific region. Since its inception in 2017, the program has supported more than 7,120 young entrepreneurs across 25 countries and territories in the region, and helped catalyze the establishment and expansion of close to 650 social enterprises. The number of people participating in its events has reached around 75,000.

The program was launched in Japan in 2019, with the aim of expanding Japan’s youth entrepreneurial ecosystem – including through engagement with the government, private sector, and civil society – that supports young entrepreneurs who endeavor to find solutions for social and environmental issues in Japan, and empowering youth to create new solutions for achieving SDGs.

“The spread of COVID-19 has caused a major setback to human development,” said Tetsuo Kondo, Director of the UNDP Representation Office in Tokyo. “However, perhaps this time of change is giving us the opportunity to re-acknowledge the importance of SDGs and showing us the path to “Building Back Better.” Created by UNDP and Citi Foundation in 2017, Youth Co:Lab will expand to 28 countries and areas in the Asia-Pacific region by 2021. I look forward to seeing all of the innovative solutions created by the young people of Japan contributing not just to the fight against COVID-19, but also to the achievement of SDGs.”

“We believe it is our duty as corporate citizens to contribute to the development of communities in countries and regions where we do business,” said Lee R. Waite, Citi Country Officer & Japan CEO. “In order for young people to succeed economically, not just in Japan, but throughout Asia, they must have comprehensive skills, including work and leadership skills, in addition to an education. We are pleased to be able to participate in social innovation in Japan, encourage youth to explore solutions for social, cultural, and environmental-related issues, and contribute to the development of entrepreneurial spirit through the unique empowerment opportunities afforded by Youth Co:Lab.”

The main Youth Co:Lab activities this year in Japan will consist of the “Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2020”, an entrepreneurial contest that recognizes initiatives for achieving SDGs (Tuesday, November 24); and “Youth Co:Lab Japan Dialogue 2020”, symposiums in which youth-led social entrepreneurship and mechanisms for promoting innovation will be discussed (Tuesday, September 8 and Tuesday, November 10). All of this year’s activities will be held online.

The Youth Co:Lab event schedule can be found on UNDP Tokyo’s website.

About Youth Co:Lab:
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. By 2021, Youth Co: Lab aims to expand to 28 countries and territories, deepen mentorship capacity for youth entrepreneurs through the Springboard Programme, and engage ecosystem partners in the development of young people’s 21st Century skills.

Further details and ongoing updates on the Youth Co:Lab Japan can be found on UNDP Tokyo’s website and social media:

www.jp.undp.org  | Twitter: @UNDPTokyo | Facebook: @UndpTokyo

About UNDP:
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

www.undp.org | Facebook: @UNDP | Twitter:@UNDP

About Citi:
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

www.citigroup.jp | www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube | Blog | Facebook | LinkedIn

About Citi Foundation:
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach deploys the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.

Media Contacts:
Yuko Oaku, Youth Engagement Consultant at UNDP Representation Office in Tokyo

Corporate Affairs
Citi Japan

UNDP 各国事務所(英語)

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