UNDP Hosts First Youth Innovation Acceleration Camp In Shenzhen, Training Next Generation of Social Entrepreneurs

Posted December 20, 2021

Shenzhen, December 20, 2021 - A Youth Innovation Acceleration Camp was concluded today in Shenzhen, bringing together youth-led startups for a three-day learning and incubation experience, empowering young entrepreneurs in China in their pursuit of innovative tech-based solutions for development challenges.

The camp was hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China in partnership with OPPO, a Chinese consumer electronics and mobile communications company, with strategic support from the China Alliance of Social Value Investment (CASVI). It comprised of 32 representatives from 20 promising start-ups representing the diverse composition of today’s young entrepreneurs in China including women, youth with disability and ethnic minorities accounting for 28%, 6% & 6% of participants respectively.

 “Entrepreneurial spirit is an essential component in advancing our shared ambition to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and we will continue to support the most creative, intelligent and daring youth of today in this mission, ” said Beate Trankmann, UNDP Resident Representative in China.

The selected startups received training sessions on tackling climate change, digital inclusion and public health issues from top cross-sectoral experts including the private sector, impact funds, Civil Society, startup incubators and academia. These mentors also provided training and coaching on business analysis, marketing, impact financing and design thinking.

A Demo day was also held on the final day of the camp where selected startups showcased their innovative business models and ideas to an audience of investors and executives from startup accelerators.

Two social enterprises were awarded the Most Promising Startup Award. Orcauboat uses autonomous robotics operations to clean floating garbage and its intelligent maintenance and management solutions for urban waterways is both more efficient and reduces costs by 60%. Bluewind provides technical solutions for high carbon emission enterprises through self-developed carbon capture technology.

“It’s been truly inspirational to learn of the innovative solutions these talented young startup founders have designed to help meet some of the world’s most urgent and pressing challenges,” added Trankmann.

During the camp, UNDP and CASVI also launched the National Springboard Programme - UNDP’s new startup support platform for young SDG innovators. The programme will run incubation courses consisting of twelve modules that are designed and localized to guide start-ups in China on how to run social enterprises.

Weihua Ma, Chairman of CASVI, called on the investors and industrial partners present to jointly promote impact investment and support enterprises to stay on a sustainable path. “Promoting sustainable development has become the greatest social responsibility of enterprises,” he said.

“Following our mission of Technology for Mankind, Kindness for the World, OPPO will continue to prioritize issues like Environmental Protection, Youth Empowerment, Digital Inclusion and Public Health to better achieve the SDGs”, said Sonia Miao, OPPO Associate Vice President,Head of Strategy and Business Development.

The camp also aimed to provide some initial funding to enhance opportunities of these young social entrepreneurs to receive further investments from impact investors and financial institutions. To this end, UNDP and OPPO set up a 1 million CNY Youth Innovation Grants. Over the past 4 years, more than 200 youth-led start-ups have started their entrepreneurship with UNDP’s support, with each placing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of their enterprise’s mission.