First urban innovation start-up competition to tackle urban problems towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), Seoul Digital Foundation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and ASEAN-Korea Centre will co-host the first urban innovation competition for young entrepreneurs and start-ups from around the world from 19 to 20 September in Seoul to find solutions to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The competition will bring together start-ups developing SDG-integrated health, education, transportation and environment technologies in the context of smart sustainable cities. Sponsored by D.Camp, the event aims to accelerate SDGs implementation by connecting public officials, private entrepreneurs, investors, IT professionals and youth, creating an innovative space for young entrepreneurs to share ideas and receive mentoring support for SDGs solutions, as well as showcasing and supporting technology-based business models that demonstrate potential in implementing the SDGs.

Mr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director and Head of ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office, said “Empowered young men and women can play a critical role in realizing the vision of the SDGs. Together, we can set a path that is more sustainable and more inclusive for the world, starting with the communities that are the closest to us: cities.”

As part of this event, ESCAP, UNDP, WFUNA, and the United Nations Academic Impact Korea will jointly host an invitation only Leaders’ Breakfast for CEOs of start-ups, venture investors, and senior public officials to discuss the current state of youth entrepreneurship, the impact and opportunities of big data analysis, automatization, artificial intelligence and other technology-based inventions, in addition to the scope, limitations and implications of private-public partnerships for implementing the SDGs.

As UNDP Seoul Policy Centre Director Balazs Horvath pointed out, “New technologies offer incredible opportunities for youth entrepreneurship, and UNDP is aiming to connect stakeholders from all sectors to foster sustainable and inclusive growth. Technology-based start-ups can be a great tool for mutually benefitting innovation in the urban context.”

Furthermore, ESCAP, UNDP, and WFUNA will co-host a Policy Dialogue on innovation for sustainable development which will provide a platform for young innovators and entrepreneurs to raise their voice and exchange ideas with established private sector representatives and policy makers on the implementation of SDGs in an urban context.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jiwon Kim (Ms.), Communications Consultant, ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office, Incheon City, Republic of Korea, T: +82 32 458 6617; E: kim123@un.org

Hye-Jin Park (Ms.), Communications Analyst, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre, Seoul, Republic of Korea, T: +82 2 3290 5199; E: hyejin.park@undp.org

Joe Lim (Mr.), Partnerships Officer, World Federation of United Nations Associations, Seoul, Republic of Korea, T: +82 6925 2695; E: lim@wfuna.org