APPLY HERE by september 24th, 2023

What is the Youth Innovation Factory (YIF)?

  • UNDP’s Youth Innovation Factory (YIF) is akin to a venture builder – it is a programme implemented by SocialTech Lab that helps accelerate those developing tech-based solutions on pressing social and environmental issues for the island of Cyprus. 

  • The Factory supports with launching innovations from idea to Minimum Viable Product (MVP) through expert training, mentoring, networking, free resources, and more.

What is an Innovation Challenge? 

  • Innovation Challenges are defined as prized challenges that UNDP Country Offices organise to solicit innovative ideas and solutions to address development challenges which cannot be achieved through traditional solicitation processes.

What should the solutions consider? 
The proposed solutions should be:

  • Beneficiary-Centered, Context-Appropriate and Solution-Focused. 

    • Proposed solicitation process should address a clearly defined development problem, focused on the needs of its end-users or beneficiaries, and appropriate to their context. 

    • broadly accepted and widely accessible to all targeted beneficiaries and/or potential users;

  • Financially Sustainable and Scalable

  • Available for sharing

  • Replicable in other environments 

    • Building on technologies or methodologies that are adaptable to various contexts

  • The idea-should be unique and should propose a new approach to existing solutions for solving the addressed challenge.  

The solutions will be evaluated based on these points for a chance to be awarded the Innovation Challenge prize of up to €25,000. A more detailed evaluation criteria will be shared with selected participants.

Who can participate in the Youth Innovation Factory (YIF)?

  • YIF is open to applicants all over the island aged 18-35. 

  • Applicants must be interested in and/or have a passion for developing and launching innovative tech-based solutions focused on tackling social and/or environmental issues.  

  • YIF is open to teams of at least 2 people (maximum 4).  

  • Inter-communal teams are strongly encouraged to apply.

What is the application process for YIF?

  • Participants must complete the online application form available HERE by 23:59 EET on Sunday, September 24, 2023.  Your application will be evaluated based on criteria outlined below, and you will receive an email response with a decision within a week.

Can we apply as individuals, or do we need to have a legal entity?

  • The opportunity to participate is open to all entities, whether individuals or legal entities.

I already have a project that can fit in the programme, can I apply with that?

  • You can, but if you do, we advise that you create a separate product/idea for YIF that will tackle a social or environmental issue you identify during the ideation process so that it can be scaled and replicated for the greater good. Please carefully read the IP terms below.

Do I need to have prior business experience?

  • No. In fact, the program is built to take you from as early as the ideation phase until an MVP.  We welcome first-time founders and experienced entrepreneurs.  

  • YIF is for anyone who can bring their expertise and experience to the table to build solutions tackling social and/or environmental challenges.

If I don’t have a concrete idea, but am passionate about the proposed themes, can I still apply?

  • Yes! YIF is an excellent opportunity to surround yourself with a dedicated group of likeminded people ready to solve the island’s most pressing challenges.  

  • As long as you are ready and committed to developing an idea tackling one of our challenges and are open to collaborating with experts, we welcome your application!

What criteria are you using to evaluate applications and ultimately determine acceptance to participate in YIF?
We are looking for 4 main criteria:

  • Strength and Characteristics of the Applying Team (e.g., potential of each team member based on their background to succeed in the program) (5 points)

  • Fit for the Program (e.g., personal ambitions, collaborative spirit, etc.) (15 points)

  • Motivation for Applying (5 points)

  • Ideation Potential Around Social/Environmental Issues (e.g., overall understanding and passion for solving challenges) (5 points)

What will YIF provide?

  • A cohort of innovators supporting and sharing knowledge with each other to build incredible innovations;

  • Round table discussions with Civil Society representatives and Technical Committees;

  • Tailored, hands-on trainings with industry specialists;

  • Expert mentorship;

  • Networking with public and private organizations and stakeholders;

  • Free co-working space with access to a multimedia studio, a conference room, shared desks, free beverages/snacks, and more!

Where will YIF take place?

  • YIF will be based in Nicosia, Cyprus. 

  • The program will be hybrid in-person and virtual, and it will include: 

    • Trainings and workshops (in-person) 

    • Mentorship (in-person and virtual)

    • Deliverables (virtual)

    • Networking (in-person) 

Check the flow chart on the YIF page for a preliminary schedule of activities.

What will the teams be judged on and who will evaluate the solutions? 

  • The teams will be judged on the following things:

    • Submission of the YIF report (the template will be provided at the beginning of the programme) documenting all materials related to their project development journey (50%)

    • A final presentation to a Jury consisting of UNDP senior management personnel and relevant industry specialists (20%) 

    • Participant participation in all workshops, support sessions and adequate completion of deliverables (30%)

  • Both the YIF report and the presentation will be judged based on the UNDP Innovation Challenge Criteria defined above.

Who owns the Intellectual Property rights to solutions created during YIF?

  • The intellectual property rights of solicited ideas and/or solutions remain with UNDP who will issue appropriate licenses to the developer of the idea. The solution shall be made public and open exchanges, collaborative participation and community development following the challenge shall be encouraged. 

    This aims to ensure that:

    • innovations that are of significant interest and benefits to the public actually becomes “public goods or services” and may be made accessible;

    • that there will be no monopoly control over the solution; and

    • that they will not be priced outside of the beneficiaries’ ability to pay

How can I find out more about YIF before I apply?

APPLY HERE by september 24th, 2023