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October 05, 2019 Saturday 08:09:00 AM IST

Youth Co:Lab for Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship Development

Entrepreneurship Development

In a latest initiative to recognize young people as critical drivers of sustainable development, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India on Friday launched Youth Co:Lab which aims at accelerating social entrepreneurship and innovation in young India. To mark the launch, a Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed between AIM, NITI Aayog and UNDP India.

Through Youth Co:Lab, young entrepreneurs and innovators will get a chance to connect with governments, mentors, incubators and investors, who will help equip them with entrepreneurial skills. The initiative will also convene a series of youth dialogues across several cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote entrepreneurship across India. 
AIM and UNDP, as part of UNSDF signed between NITI Aayog and UN India, are collaborating to spread awareness about different issues pertaining to youth, the future of work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through Youth Co:Lab. The first phase of Youth Co:Lab will focus on six SDGs: SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). 
Sharing his views on the significance of youth led entrepreneurship, Mission Director Ramanan Ramanathan said that “youth entrepreneurship has immense potential benefits and the most significant one is that it creates huge employment opportunities in the country.” 

“With the world’s largest youth population millions in the county are entering the workforce every year, it is critical for India to create a robust employment and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” he added. Targeted at supporting young people overcome challenges, UNDP and AIM, NITI Aayog will empower young people through innovative development ideas.  
In this regard, Youth Co:Lab will convene social innovation challenges at the national and sub-national level, which will invite young people in the age group of 18-29 years and start-ups to showcase their proposed ideas and solutions to tackle some of the region’s biggest social challenges. 
They will also get the opportunity to pitch their ideas at UNDP’s regional centre in 2020. Aspiring entrepreneurs or nascent entrepreneurs (with less than 3 years of experience) can submit their ideas at http://aimapp2.aim.gov.in/youth2019/entry.php  before 4 November, 2019. Selected applicants will be invited for a national innovation challenge, where each winning start-up will get an opportunity to incubate and strengthen their ideas at the Atal Incubation Centres. 
Speaking at the launch, Resident Representative, UNDP India Shoko Noda said, that 21st-century challenges can’t be solved with traditional approaches.  “It is essential to position young people front and centre, to solve the region’s most wicked development challenges. We must ensure that they are motivated and excited to learn future skills, particularly leadership, social innovation, entrepreneurship and communication,” she added.  About Youth Co:Lab, she said that it is an innovative platform for young people to explore their ideas and potentials, and bring to scale viable solutions, to accelerate India’s progress on the SDGs.


About Youth Co:Lab:
Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, and operational in 25 countries across the Asia Pacific region, the Youth Co:Lab initiative aims to create an enabling ecosystem to promote youth leadership, innovation, and social entrepreneurship.


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