Start and Scale-Up for SDGs at Global Entrepreneurship Week 379 views

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International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) are inviting young entrepreneurs around the world to participate in the youth entrepreneurship pitching event entitled Start and Scale-up for SDGs, which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland on 15 November 2018 as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) which will take place from 12 to 16 November 2018.

Young entrepreneurs from around the world are to submit business ideas that contribute to at least 1 of the SDGs, for either the Start-up Competition or the Scale-up Competition. A selected panel of impact investors, sustainable finance specialists and other experts will then provide feedback on the submissions, and how businesses can promote sustainable and inclusive growth through entrepreneurship in line with the UN Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development.

The 11th Global Entrepreneurship Week at Washington, DC, will use the following 4 themes to highlight ambassadors and GEN partner organizations around the world that promote, encourage and support the development of entrepreneurs within each of the 4 categories:

  • GEW Women – celebrating female entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders, investors and other startup champions, and providing opportunities to expand their networks, identify resources and share knowledge with other women around the world.
  • GEW Youth – shaping the next generation of innovators through activities and competitions to help them sharpen their skills and connecting them to potential co-founders, mentors and investors.
  • GEW Inclusion – highlighting the work startup champions are doing around the world to minimize barriers and obstacles for entrepreneurs by maximizing inclusion.
  • GEW Ecosystem Connect – aims to inspire communities to collaborate, and share their networks and markets to help their rising startups thrive.


Ten selected candidates with the best ideas will be invited to visit Geneva during the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) to pitch their business ideas to impact investors and sustainable finance partners.

The 10 selected participants will receive the following benefits:

  • Individual feedback from experts;
  • Attend a customized workshop on intellectual property led by WIPO;
  • Coaching sessions on resilience and leadership skills provided by FlowInAction; and
  • Attend a wide variety of events organized in Geneva during the GEW.

In addition, the candidates in the Scale-Up competition will get the opportunity to win an equity fund of US$15,000. Candidates in the Start-Up competition will get the opportunity to win a grant of US$5,000. The prizes are sponsored by ONE CREATION, a Swiss Investment cooperative whose commitments reflect the combination of social, economic and environmental priorities.


Applications from young entrepreneurs with migrant backgrounds including returning migrants; businesses or business ideas which partner with migrants; as well as businesses which offer migration related solutions, are particularly encouraged. All applicants must be aged between 15 and 34.

Entries for the Start-up competition must be business ideas, concepts and/or prototypes that are at the very initial stages of development or at early operational stage (1 to 12 months). Entries for the Scale-up competition must be established businesses that have been at least 1 year in operation or more.

All ideas, concepts and/or businesses must aim to contribute to at least 1 of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals. More specifically, ideas, concepts and/or businesses must embed elements of social, economic or environmental sustainability, either in the final product or service of the business, or in the process used to make the product or deliver the service.

Applicants have to disclose, at the time of application, whether they have already received any start-up or scale-up funding.

Ideas, concepts and/or businesses will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Sustainability: the entry must possess clear elements of sustainability, making an obvious contribution to achieving 1 of the 17 SDGs and impacting society
  • Customer needs must be clearly identified
  • Business model: E.g. How will the product or service generate revenue?
  • Differentiation
  • Identification of the initial market identified, and whether there is a sufficiently large and growing market.

Two kinds of entrepreneurship ideas are particularly encouraged (i) proposals from young entrepreneurs with migrant background or those offering migration related solutions, and (ii) proposals that provide specific attention to climate change solutions, sustainable environmental management and solutions for sustainable natural resource use.


Applications are to be submitted via email by 1 September 2018.

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