Home Economy Youth Co:Lab Summit 2024 gathers young social entrepreneurs in call for inclusive entrepreneurship

Youth Co:Lab Summit 2024 gathers young social entrepreneurs in call for inclusive entrepreneurship

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Centered on the theme of inclusive entrepreneurship, over 200 participants from 20 countries and territories gathered in the Philippines at Youth Co:Lab Summit 2024 by the United Nations Development Programme and Citi Foundation, organized together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Philippines, to celebrate and highlight the critical role of young entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds in driving sustainable and equitable economic development and in advancing the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Held at the ADB Headquarters in Manila, Philippines, the summit serves as a platform to champion inclusivity in entrepreneurship, promote youth-driven climate initiatives, and harness digital skills where young social entrepreneurs present their inclusive solutions, female-centric initiatives, support for underserved communities and innovative climate responses to build inclusive and just societies.

“Through our Pathways to Progress job skills-building initiative, the Citi Foundation has been a longtime supporter of organizations working around the globe to address the persistent issue of youth unemployment,” said Florencia Spangaro, chief operating officer of the Citi Foundation. “With its focus on inclusive entrepreneurship, this year’s Youth Co:Lab Summit is a celebration of the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and innovators who are committed to leaving a positive mark on their communities.”

The summit provided a regional space for young social entrepreneurs across the Asia-Pacific region to foster knowledge and idea exchanges through networking and collaboration, inspire and engage youth to take action, discuss emerging trends in the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem, advocate for policies to enhance its resilience and inaugurate collaborative initiatives for inclusive youth entrepreneurship.

“Through Youth Co:Lab, we empower and enable young social entrepreneurs who themselves are the personification of diversity and inclusion, to overcome adversity, challenge the status quo, create jobs and innovate for a more inclusive tomorrow,” said Philippines Citi Country Officer and Banking Head Paul Favila. “We owe the success of Youth Co:Lab to young social entrepreneurs who are at the front and center of this movement; who have demonstrated passion, resilience and grit over the journey; and who are breaking barriers, bringing fresh ideas to life, and addressing global pressing issues.”

“Amidst persisting impacts of climate change to social inequality, where the most vulnerable bear the brunt — young people are harnessing the power of social entrepreneurship by offering creative solutions to address critical issues in their communities. At UNDP, we are committed to empowering youth as catalysts for transformative change, advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles, aligning with the goal of Leaving No One Behind,” said Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident Representative of UNDP Philippines.

The two-day summit, from June 27 to June 28, saw participants from diverse backgrounds, including young social entrepreneurs, government delegates, private sector partners, investors, and other youth community partners joining virtually.

Youth Co:Lab Summit 2024 was also held in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), International Labour Organization (ILO), Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), CVC Capital Partners, Commonwealth Secretariat (CWS), EY, The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Spark Project, and StartupUp Quezon City and the Local Economic Investment Promotions Office of the Local Government of Quezon City.

Youth Co:Lab, co-created by UNDP and the Citi Foundation in 2017, is the largest youth movement for empowerment, social entrepreneurship, equality, and social inclusion in Asia-Pacific and has supported young people in 28 countries and territories. Since its inception, activities supported by Youth Co:Lab have reached 280,300 participants across the Asia-Pacific region.

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