Two global initiatives launch side-by-side and call for youth-led innovative solutions to improve education, employment and civic engagement

Application Deadline: 15 November 2019

The Generation Unlimitted Youth Challenge and the Youth Co-Lab Innovation Challenge is organized as part of the Timor-Leste Accelerator Lab jointly launched by UNDP and UNICEF on the 16th of August 2019, one of the 60 Accelerator Labs serving 78 countries around the world. The Timor-Leste Accelerator Lab aims to map, explore, experiment and scale-up locally driven solutions to over 70% of the local population living in rural areas to solve the following persistent challenges:

  • Around 70% of the 1.2million population lives in rural areas, most of whom are dependent on subsistent agriculture and are very vulnerable to climate-induced disasters.
  • 38% of Timorese children under 5 are stunted and 20% are wasted (Standard of Living Survey, 2014), limited access to nutrition, health, water and sanitation information and services affecting livelihoods across country.
  • 80% of youth are not formally employed, and 25% are not looking because they have been discouraged by the difficulty of finding decent work (NHDR 2018); 20% of youth aged between 15 to 24 years are NEET – not in education, employment or training (Census 2015); Young female farmers marry younger, have children at a younger age, and have more children at the age of 24 than non-female farmers.

Objectives and Focus Areas of the Youth Co:Lab Innovation Challenge

  • Generate youth-led innovation that provides solutions to tackle unemployment as well as health and malnutrition issues in Timor-Leste by empowering youth and giving them the opportunity to develop, pitch, and scale up their innovative ideas and start-ups in the following areas:
    • Waste management: solving waste problem through 4Rs and promotion of circular economy.
    • Sustainable agriculture: building climate resilient agriculture to improve food production and consumption.
    • Sustainable tourism: creating attractive tourism in the sustainable way to benefit both the people and planet as well as tourists and the local community.
    • Renewable energy: improve access to affordable, reliable and clean energy for low income households, communities, and business to reduce indoor air pollutions and reduce CO2 emissions.
  • To build innovation ecosystem for youth innovation and entrepreneurship by fostering the dialogue and partnership between youth, government, private sector, academia and other stakeholders in order to identify priority issues and actions for development of the innovation and entrepreneurial eco-system;
  • To inspire, empower, and engage youth as change-makers/problem solvers and partners for development not as beneficiaries;
  • To transform youth ‘job-seekers’ into ‘job-creators’ through innovation and entrepreneurship which lead to reduction of unemployment rate and promotion of better health and nutrition in Timor-Leste. 

Eligibility: who can apply for Youth Co:lab Innovation Challenge

Timorese young people who…

  • Are aged between 18 to 35 years old
  • Starting to work on a new idea or have already started a business (registered company who already running for one year and above or in the process/planning to register – running less than six months)
  • Innovators with great idea or business to solve unemployment and malnutrition issues
  • Doers who can take ideas into actions and/or have clear vision and strategy for scaling up

Can commit to attending:

  • The pre-bootcamp training session for qualified teams (November 2019)
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp: training and oitching to select 10 best ideas for final pitching to a panel of judges and partners
  • National Youth Forum: National Dialogue, final pitching and award ceremony
  • If selected, can commit to attend mentoring and incubation through the UNDP's springboard programme that could last in December 2020 to implement or scale your business.


We welcome applications from University Finalists, women leaders, entrepreneurs, young people living with disability and other vulnerable young people aged between 18-35 years and youth working on projects in sustainable development and social innovations particularly in the above mentioned areas. 

Applications/proposals will be shortlisted based on the following criteria:

  1. Quality of proposal
  2. Commercial viability of the proposal
  3. Sustainable development impact
  4. Scalability 
  5. Creativity

Application Form (click here)

Please download and fill-up the application form and send it to

For more information about the application email: or contact

Felisberta Moniz da Silva

Joao Maria Tapel

Click here to know dettails about GenU Youth Challenge and how to apply or contact:


About Youth Co:Lab?

Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so they can accel­erate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entre­preneurship. By developing young people’s 21st century skills, and by 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, including governments, civil society and the private sector, to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem and to promote policies that will support and enable young people to take the lead in finding and developing new solutions for social and environmental problems in their communities.

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