• Saturday, Sep 22, 2018
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UNDP and Citi Foundation honour youth-led social enterprises for achieving SDGs

  • Published at 11:03 pm September 8th, 2018
Youth Co-Lab
COURTESY

Nine start-up teams participated in a two-day boot camp guided by experts from different sectors and heightened their ideas and solutions on issues from education to renewable energy, aligning with the SDGs

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation (City Bank of New York) awarded three top performing social-enterprises led by youth teams for their innovations as a startup ecosystem, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNDP and Citi Foundation in association with the Ministry of Youth and Sports jointly organized a three-day program. The closing event titled, “Accelerator Bangladesh: National Dialogue to Foster the Startup Ecosystem in Bangladesh” was held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) on September 7.

The initiative is a part of Youth Co-Lab, a platform for youth entrepreneurship in 18 countries across Asia-Pacific including Bangladesh, read a press release.

Youth Co-Lab is a multi-level response to tackle the challenges youth (including the most marginalized) face today in the Asia and Pacific region. A regional initiative co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation, Youth Co-Lab aims to establish a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in and empower youth to accelerate implementation of the SDGs through social innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Earlier, nine start-up teams participated in a two-day boot camp guided by experts from different sectors and heightened their ideas and solutions on issues from education to renewable energy, aligning with the SDGs.

Among the nine, three were selected for their innovative solutions: Alter Youth on literacy, Biotech Bangladesh on waste management, and Avijatrik on community tourism.

These three will go to the next round of the Asia Regional Summit to be held in Vietnam next year.

Citi Bangladesh Country Officer N Rajashekaran said that the youth are the future of a nation and a vital force of change.

He said: “Bangladesh has a huge demographic dividend which can lead the country towards the path of progress. To harness the potential of these young people, the Citi Foundation has committed to invest $100 million globally to make 500,000 youths employable by 2020 and provide expert guidance with support of 10,000 of Citi volunteers.”

Youth are the source of energy, and today’s young people are tomorrow’s torch bearers for SDGs. Imagine a future that innovates based on the needs of the most marginalized. It will be a future that benefits us all, said UNDP Deputy Country Director Kyoko Yokosuka.

“And it is, therefore, essential that we invest on youth effectively and sustainably so that the youth get opportunities to showcase their hidden talents. Youth Co-Lab is UNDP’s regional initiative to create that opportunity for young people in Bangladesh,” she added.

Ministry of Youth and Sports Additional Secretary ABM Ruhul Azad, UNDP Bangladesh Deputy Country Director Kyoko Yokosuka, and Citi Bangladesh Country Officer N Rajashekaran, along with 300 other delegates from public, private, and academic sectors were present at the closing event.