Youth Social Entrepreneurs Gather for 6th National Dialogue Highlighting Climate Action

December 10, 2023

The 6th annual National Dialogue kicked off in Beijing.

Beijing, 10 December 2023  – The 6th annual National Dialogue was convened in Beijing from 8th to 10th December. Co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme, the China Soong Ching Ling Science & Culture Centre for Young People and Citi China, aiming to empower Chinese youth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The National Dialogue is a flagship event of Youth Co:Lab. Co-created by UNDP and the Citi Foundation in 2017, the Youth Co:Lab is the largest youth movement for empowerment, social entrepreneurship, equality, and social inclusion in Asia Pacific and has supported young people in 28 countries and territories. Since its inception, activities supported by Youth Co:Lab have reached 255,000 participants across the Asia Pacific region. 
Around the theme of Climate Action, this year’s National Dialogue encouraged young people to leverage technologies and digital skills to respond to climate challenges with green, inclusive and sustainable solutions. It convened close to 100 people from diverse backgrounds including 60 young entrepreneurs and 40 representatives from various stakeholders in the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem.
“We are witnessing the largest generation of young people in history,” said James George, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP China addressing youth participants at the event’s opening ceremony. “UNDP looks to the innovation, creativity, and leadership of young people in leveraging digital technologies, and developing new approaches to advance the SDGs, accelerate climate action, and shape a sustainable future.”

Thirty stakeholders joined the Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Diagnostic Workshop on December 8th to map the challenges youth start-ups face and identify approaches to better supporting youth entrepreneurship. During the Start-up Fair, start-ups gained tailored mentorship from 15 mentors, who provided advice on business plans, and how to receive investment and support in scaling social ventures.

Since 2017, through the National Dialogue, over 200 Chinese youth-led start-ups have gained professional entrepreneurship mentorship from experts across impact funds, incubators and academia, enhancing their opportunities to receive funding from investors and industry partners. 
Haifeng Ren, the Deputy Director General of the China Soong Ching Science and Culture Centre for Young People, said, “We have been committed to building a platform for young people to collide ideas and inspire wisdom, and enhancing SDGs awareness and skills. We look forward to unlocking the innovative power of youth in responding to climate change and creating a green planet.”  

Hongjun Teng, Executive Vice President of Citibank (China) Co., Ltd shared that catalyzing youth economic opportunities has always been a focus area of Citi’s philanthropic efforts. He added that by leveraging leadership and skills training and access to experience sharing with professionals in the real world, Citi is committed to enabling youth to thrive by improving their employability and entrepreneurship.

On Demo Day, 12 start-ups showcased their business solutions for addressing climate change to an audience of investors. First prize winners include Orca Energy and Bacteria Selection Carbon Reduction.

The eight winning teams will have the opportunity to participate in the Youth Co:Lab Summit, the Asia Pacific’s largest gathering of youth social entrepreneurs, to be held in 2024. Representing China, they will showcase their business solutions along with young entrepreneurs from other countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region, demonstrating how youth can contribute to the realization of the SDGs through social innovation and entrepreneurship.

For more information and media interviews, contact: 
Beijing: Yue Zhao,, +86 185 1111 0464