The First Youth Co:Lab Timor-Leste National Youth Forum on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship is happening right now in Dili, Timor-Leste. The event is held from 2nd until 6th December 2019. The National Youth Co:Lab is the forum for new talented young people in Timor-Leste to showcase their ideas and become known and acknowledged for their talents.  This initiative sets to reach out to the youth in the Asia-Pacific region working together to achieve sustainable development goals in response to persisting challenges. It enables young leaders of their field to build an ecosystem for entrepreneurship, inspire and empower them to achieve SDGs, transforming them from being job seekers into ‘change maker’ and ‘job-creator’ as well as working in partnership for social innovation.

In Timor-Leste the First Youth Co:Lab event is hosted by UNDP Knua Joventude Fila Liman (KJFL) and consists of two main activities the bootcamp and the National Youth Forum. After the call for applications on Youth Co: Lab launched last September, 53 submissions was received and only 30 applicants were shortlisted (with 15 start-up and 15 ideation stage). These 30 shortlisted applicants will receive mentorship from UNDP KJFL and expert on entrepreneurship during the bootcamp. Only the best 10 applicants will be considered for the semi-final round and 2 teams will be selected as the winner based on their ideas and pitch.

Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and 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 that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Key massage given by the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Timor-Leste, Mrs. Lazima Onta Bhatta, during the opening of the bootcamp is “for those who are not selected into the top 10 teams for semi-final to not feel discourage as UNDP will continue to work with them to get support and to continue learn from those who have won in the past to share their experience and to learn from each other”.

The bootcamp is a three-day activity that aims to equip participants with ideas and insights on how they are going to put together their thoughts, while at the same time building their capacity to have the confidence in presenting their innovative design approach. On top of that, each participant will practice for their pitching, where they learned how to do public speaking and receiving feedback from experts. The main areas for the pitching session includes agriculture, business, tourism, waste management, innovation and renewable energy.

Following the bootcamp is the two-day National Youth Forum. This forum will open a dialogue among young people with development partners about the challenges that they want to overcome. Representative of government agencies such as IADE, SERVE, Trade Invest, private sectors and business owners are invited to join the dialogue. The dialogue will include highlight on relevant research about current challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurship development in Timor-Leste; how current business ecosystems are strengthened to accommodate innovation and entrepreneurship as well as to get inspired by those who are already working in social innovation. During the forum these participants will have the opportunity to network with the following representatives and exchange ideas for partnership building. On the last day of the forum a pitching session will be held to select the best team.

Two successful teams will be selected and they will participate in an incubation period with KJFL. The selected teams will participate in the Youth Co:Lab Regional Summit 2020, where they will join fellow youth from 24 other Asia-Pacific countries in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April 2020.

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