Top Youth Entrepreneurs Selected for Final Youth4South Entrepreneurship Competition, to be held in Bangkok in September

By July 5, 2022 July 5, 2022 News, Youth4South

5 July 2022, New York: More than twenty young entrepreneurs from 15 developing countries came together for the first-round pitching of the Youth4South Entrepreneurship Competition on 23 and 24 June 2022. Based on the competitive live pitching over the two days, 10 initiatives emerged as the most environmentally friendly and financially sustainable ones, which made to the main competition at the Global South-South Development Expo 2022 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in September.

In the lead-up to the GSSD Expo 2022, the Youth4South Entrepreneurship Competition was launched in November 2021, jointly with the Government of Thailand and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The call for applications from young entrepreneurs globally received close to 230 applications from 45 countries. The competition provides young talents from developing countries with an opportunity to share knowledge and collaborate to develop and scale-up innovative solutions to address global challenges through South-South and triangular cooperation.

This entrepreneurship competition is being organized under UNOSSC’s Youth for South (Y4S): Advanced Youth Leadership Programme, with support from the United Nations Youth Envoy’s Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and UNDP Youth Co: Lab.

From the 230 young entrepreneurs’ applications received, the top 22 initiatives were shortlisted jointly by the co-hosts of the competition to pitch for the final selection with a jury present from UNFPA, ESCAP, ITU, UNDP Youth Co:Lab, UNOSSC, and UN Youth Envoy’s office. These 22 initiatives in the first-round pitching covered a wide range of topics, from creative economy, education, and renewable energy to cross-border e-commerce, and food security and supply chain. All youth participants pitched their innovative business plans on the theme of sustainable COVID-19 recovery toward a smart and resilient future.

In her opening message for the first pitching, UNOSSC Deputy Director, Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, remarked that youth entrepreneurs are sources of development innovations: “Together, you represent our world today, and you create the future we share.” She also shared that the competition could connect youth talents to training, mentorships, investment opportunities, and seed funding support offered by the UN and international development networks.

The top 10 youth entrepreneurs selected will join the main pitching at the GSSD Expo 2022 in  September and will also participate in a series of training exercises, dialogues, and networking sessions.

Top 10 Entrepreneurs and Initiatives

Pratap Thapa

aQysta, Nepal

Pratap grew up in a small village in Nepal, where he experienced the challenges faced by his parents to irrigate their farm, which led him to the idea of developing the Barsha pump. Pratap is an Industrial Engineer with a master’s degree in Management of Technology from the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands with a specialization in Economics and Finance. Pratap has previously worked at BoP Innovation Center in the Netherlands, Bosch Limited in India, and has taught Technology Entrepreneurship at Kathmandu University in Nepal.

Pratap Thapa, aQysta, Nepal

Kavindya Thennakoon

Tilli, Sri Lanka

Kavindya was born and raised in a close-knit community in Deraniyagala, Sri Lanka, which sparked her passion for transforming learning outcomes to bridge the educational divide that she saw first-hand. She is a graduate and a Dean’s Fellow at the Stanford School of Education where her research focused on utilizing emerging technologies and game design to make social-emotional learning accessible for every child, everywhere.

Kavindya Thennakoon, Tilli, Sri Lanka

Mathias Charles Yabe

AkoFresh, Ghana

Mathias is a food systems and technology enthusiast, working to make food systems stronger, fairer, and more sustainable in local communities in Ghana. Since 2018, his mission has been to help make food systems resilient through the introduction of climate-smart solutions in local communities to help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

Mathias Charles Yabe, AkoFresh, Ghana

Gopal Kumar Mohoto

Cassetex, Bangladesh

Gopal is an engineer, entrepreneur, and researcher on renewable energy. Through research and systems thinking he brings sustainable and innovative solutions for the future of energy and mobility. He has been creating energy solutions with just energy transition; through this, he is focused on transforming the energy sector away from grid dependence to off-grid, micro-energy, and community-based distributed energy.

Gopal Kumar Mohoto, Cassetex, Bangladesh

Lilan Dayananda

Elzian Agro, Sri Lanka

Lilan holds a special degree in Business Management from the University of Kelaniya and is a certified organic agribusiness practitioner. For years, his initiative organization has come up with award-winning innovative solutions that can apply to Precision Agriculture. His aim through his startup ELZIAN AGRO is to provide effective sustainable solutions to end hunger in all its forms.

Lilan Dayananda, Elzian Agro, Sri Lanka

Rogers Githinji

Nairobi Legal Insights, Uganda

Githinji is a specialist in International Financial Law and Regulation and awaiting admission to the Bar as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. He holds a bachelor's degree in Law, and a diploma in business management from Strathmore University, Kenya.

Rogers Githinji, Nairobi Legal Insights, Uganda

Mahak Agrawal

Dream of Open Defecation Free India, India

As a Shardashish Scholar and Environmental Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Mahak earned her second master’s in public administration. She earned her first master’s degree in urban planning from the School of Planning and Architecture Delhi. Mahak currently works at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy and leads urban adaptability efforts with International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association’s Committee on Underground Spaces (ITACUS).

Mahak Agrawal, Dream of Open Defecation Free India, India

Ruth T. Farkollie

Tete’s African Interiors, Liberia

Ruth is an entrepreneur, afro-fashion enthusiast, and social media marketer driven by the desire to empower young girls lacking basic job creation skills by utilizing her education and experiences to provide opportunities for them. She holds a BA, double majors, Business Administration (Marketing) and Corporate Communications (Public Relations), with a minor in Philosophy and Law from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, USA.

Ruth T. Farkollie, Tete’s African Interiors, Liberia

Sarah Jane Fabito

WiCode for Kids, The Philippines

Sarah advocates for education, youth and women empowerment, and civic engagement. She is the Executive Director of Women in Tech - Batangas chapter in the Philippines. She hopes to inspire and help young girls in her home province to build their confidence in tech. Previously she has served as the Alliance Convenor of the National Youth Volunteers Coalition where she believes that building partnerships is essential in creating a bigger impact.

Sarah Jane Fabito, WiCode for Kids, The Philippines

Ghislain Irakoze

Wastezon, Rwanda

Ghislain Irakoze is the Founder & CEO of Wastezon. Before founding Wastezon, Ghislain led research projects at several international organizations. He sits on the Global Greengrants Fund's NextGen Climate Board and EU International Partnerships' Youth Sounding Board.

Ghislain Irakoze, Wastezon, Rwanda

About Youth4South

Youth4South was launched in November 2017, dedicated to connecting youth and practitioners from the Global South with needed capacity training opportunities and resources offered by the UN and international development community, through its three pillars of services, namely

  • Capacity development pillar- young government officials and technical officers.
  • Fellowship pillar – youth and women scientists and scholars to advance their research and learnings.
  • Entrepreneurship pillar – youth and women entrepreneurs and SDG innovators.