UNDP Youth Co:Lab India innovation challenge targets early stage startups

Kerala Start Up Mission is an implementing partner of the Youth Co:Lab India 2021 innovation challenge

Thiruvananthapuram: Early stage startups, organisations or teams led by youth aged between 18 and 29, now have an opportunity to be part of the largest youth social entrepreneurship movement in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Youth Co:Lab innovation challenge, which is into its fourth edition, is a youth social entrepreneurship movement organised under the aegis of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India.

The innovation challenge unveiled in association with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), an initiative of NITI Aayog, has Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the nodal agency of the government of Kerala for promotion of entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state; and Climate Collective Foundation (CCF), a non-profit focused on empowering entrepreneurs throughout the global South by building and strengthening local climate startup ecosystems, as its implementing partners.

Youth Co:Lab to have ‘Climate Action and Accelerated Green Recovery’ theme

This time around, the theme of Youth Co:Lab is “Climate Action and Accelerated Green Recovery. Young people engaged in the domains such as Circular Economy, Waste Management, Sustainable Transportation, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Agriculture Tech, and Sustainable Food Technology can apply for the challenge.

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The KSUM tie-up is big for Kerala in terms of the innovation efforts the mission has undertaken. According to John M Thomas, CEO, KSUM, said, “KSUM has developed a culture of innovation in the state by motivating and nurturing young entrepreneurs. We are glad to partner with UNDP and AIM in this noble endeavour to identify and enable passionate youth working on climate actions.”

Innovative platform for young people to explore ideas, potential

Youth Co:Lab is an innovative platform for young people to explore their ideas and potentials, and bring to scale up viable solutions.  Co‐founded in 2017 by the UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia‐Pacific to empower and invest in the youth.

The ‘Youth Co:Lab India’ was launched in 2019, in concert with AIM to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by skilling the youth for leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship. It has conducted three national youth social innovation and entrepreneurship challenges on various themes.

Youth Co:Lab has been implemented in 25 countries and territories across Asia Pacific. Last year, the Youth Summit was held virtually due to the pandemic.

Young entrepreneurs can register before September 22.  The winners of the innovation challenge will be supported through a short‐term incubation programme called the ‘Springboard Programme’. The top two startups emerging from the incubation programme will be selected to represent India at the ‘Youth Co:Lab’ regional summit.

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