Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in and empower youth to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship. By developing 21st century skills, catalyzing and sustaining youth-led startups and social enterprises across the region, Youth Co:Lab is positioning young people front and center in order to solve the region's most pressing challenges.
In addition to supporting youth entrepreneurship, Youth Co:Lab also works closely with multiple stakeholders across the region, including governments, civil society, and the private sector, to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem and policy support to better enable young people to take the lead on innovative solutions that will help meet the SDGs.
Since 2017, Youth Co:Lab has been implemented in 28 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific. The national dialogues, regional summits and social innovation challenges have reached over 200,000 participants. The initiative has benefited over 11,000 young social entrepreneurs and helped to launch or improve over 1,240 youth-led social enterprises. Youth Co:Lab has also established partnerships with 203 key ecosystem players through a Youth Empowerment Alliance. With a comprehensive Leave No One Behind agenda, Youth Co:Lab has curated programmes to continue supporting some of the most marginalized youth from underserved communities.
By the end of 2022, Youth Co:Lab aims to expand to 30 countries and territories, deepen mentor-ship capacity for youth entrepreneurs through the Springboard programme, engage ecosystem partners in the development of young people's 21st century skills, and advance policy solutions to strengthen the enabling environment for youth entrepreneurship in the region.