5 Years On, Youth Co:Lab Empowers Youth to Achieve the SDGs in Indonesia

January 10, 2023

5 Years On, Youth Co:Lab Empowers Youth to Achieve the SDGs in Indonesia

UNDP Indonesia

Young people in Indonesia have been making a splash of good changes at the grass roots level, owing to innovation that has placed communities in control.

In South Sumatra, over 500 coconut farmers can now market their products at competitive prices to overseas market including South Korea, thanks, in large part to KULAKU Indonesia, a start-up focusing on processed coconut production and distribution. Meanwhile on Bintan island, Ekang Mangrove Park has adopted digital technology to market its green tourism campaign to protect the mangroves. And in Papua, a women business enterprise, Sa Perempuan Papua, provides a platform for Papuan women to share and learn about various critical issues, such as gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive rights,. Since 2019, this enterprise has reached over 250 young women in the province.

These youth enterprises were among hundreds of start-ups which have received support from UNDP and Citi Foundation, who co-led the Youth Co:Lab program in Asia and the Pacific.

Youth Co:Lab strives to support youth economic growth by investing in skills and capacity and offering development platforms through youth entrepreneurship trainings and mentorship. Youth Co: Lab supports creative thinking connected with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)  to empower Indonesian youth with an emphasis on social impact.

Youth participation in enterprises is critical to Indonesia’s growth because they make up the bulk of Indonesia’s population.. According to the National Statistics Agency, Indonesian youth account for approximately 23.90 percent of the population, or 64.92 million people.

In supporting these budding enterprises, Youth Co: Lab leverages the growth of active angel investors, impact investment, and local and international accelerators and incubators, which have aided in the formation of over 2,100 start-ups in the country.

Marking five years since its inception, Youth Co:Lab last October Indonesia brought together over 150 youth development ecosystem stakeholders, including national and provincial governments, youth communities, investors and venture capital firms, civil society groups, and academia for the Youth Co:Lab National Dialogue 2022. The main objective of this event was to tackle issues surrounding policies on youth entrepreneurship, digital transformation, and the green economy. This year’s national dialogue also featured the dissemination of the National Strategy (Stranas) for Youth Entrepreneurship developed by Bappenas and the Next Generation Indonesia study report commissioned by the British Council.


5 Years On, Youth Co:Lab Empowers Youth to Achieve the SDGs in Indonesia

UNDP Indonesia

During his opening remarks at the event, UNDP Indonesia Resident Representative, Norimasa Shimomura, reflected, "We chose this year's subject because the urgency of climate action and the SDGs fuel our innovation to involve more youth in digital entrepreneurship and the green economy. There is a clear business case for us to push this agenda to the forefront."

According to Bappenas, implementing green economy could boost GDP growth by 6.1 percent to 6.5 percent annually until 2050, while also providing 1.8 million new green jobs by 2030. At the same time, Indonesia could avoid up to 87.96 billion tons of GHG emissions over the next four decades, he added.

Echoing the sentiment, Director and Country Head of Corporate Affairs at Citi Indonesia, Puni Ayu Anjungsari said, “This national dialogue is expected to make a meaningful contribution to Indonesia's development process. To optimize this huge potential, the youth, as the nation's successors, need to have sufficient opportunities and access to become one of the future drivers of the economy through entrepreneurship.''

Since its establishment in 2018, Youth Co:Lab in Indonesia has seen more than 200 youth-led enterprises under its program, with more than 1,000 young people directly benefitting from it, and more than IDR 800 million being invested in these enterprises after they graduated from Youth Co:Lab. These achievements are fuelled by the four pillars of this program, including raising awareness on social entrepreneurship, concrete action to increase the capacity of youth-led enterprises, persistent advocacy to promote a supporting policy environment in youth entrepreneurship development in Indonesia, and to monitor the sustainability of our alumni through post-program engagements and workshops.


Text By Rifki Fajar Hadiawan and Kamal Najmus Salehin

Edited by Tomi Soetjipto and Ranjit Jose