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
Kavindya Thennakoon, Tilli, Sri Lanka
Mathias Charles Yabe, AkoFresh, Ghana
Gopal Kumar Mohoto, Cassetex, Bangladesh
Lilan Dayananda, Elzian Agro, Sri Lanka
Rogers Githinji, Nairobi Legal Insights, Uganda
Mahak Agrawal, Dream of Open Defecation Free India, India
Ruth T. Farkollie, Tete’s African Interiors, Liberia
Sarah Jane Fabito, WiCode for Kids, The Philippines
Ghislain Irakoze, Wastezon, Rwanda
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.