United Nations Development Programme and the Citi Foundation on Friday awarded three top performing social enterprises, led by young people, for their innovations as start-up ecosystem to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The event was held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
The event titled ‘Accelerator Bangladesh: National Dialogue to Foster the Start-up Ecosystem in Bangladesh’ was the closing of a three-day programme, jointly organised by UNDP and the Citi Foundation in association with the youth and sports ministry.
The initiative was part of Youth Co:Lab, a platform for youth entrepreneurship in 18 countries across Asia-Pacific, including Bangladesh.
Earlier, nine start-up teams participated in the 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 Sustainable Development Goals.
Among the nine, three were selected as the top on the closing day for their innovative solutions on literacy, waste management and community tourism.
These three will go to the next round of Asia Regional Summit which will be held in Vietnam next year.
Additional secretary of the youth and sports ministry ABM Ruhul Azad said that the government was always supporting and creating opportunities for young minds to take their ideas and passions and turn them into businesses.
He said that Youth Co:Lab could be a platform for young people for learning and sharing across the border.
Citi Bangladesh country officer N Rajashekaran said that the youth was the future of a nation and a vital force of change.
‘Bangladesh has a huge demographic dividend which can take the country towards the path of progress. To harness the potential of these young people, globally the Citi Foundation has committed to invest $100 million to make 500,000 youths employable by 2020 and providing expert guidance with support of 10,000 of Citi volunteers,’ Rajashekaran said.
‘Youth is the source of energy and today’s young people are tomorrow’s duty bearers for SDGs. It’s therefore essential we invest on youth effectively and sustainably so that the hidden talents of youth get the opportunities to showcase their talents. Youth Co:Lab is UNDP’s regional initiative to create that opportunity for young people in Bangladesh,’ said deputy country director, UNDP Kyoko Yokosuka.
Around 300 delegates which included government officials, private sector participants, NGOs, academia, social incubators, entrepreneurs, and young business leaders, and youth were present at the closing event, said a press release.
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