Youth Co:Lab Summit 2023: Asia Pacific’s Largest Youth Social Entrepreneurs Gathering Highlights Inclusive Entrepreneurship

The Regional Youth Co:Lab Summit, jointly organized by Citi Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), positions young people front and center to solve the region’s most pressing challenges

July 13, 2023
Representatives from Citi and Citi Foundation, UNDP, government partners and young social entrepreneurs at the opening session of Youth Co:Lab Summit 2023

Representatives from Citi and Citi Foundation, UNDP, government partners and young social entrepreneurs at the opening session of Youth Co:Lab Summit 2023

13 July 2023, Bangkok– Close to 200 participants representing 20 countries and territories gathered in Bangkok to discuss how they can help tackle the world’s most pressing societal challenges through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship at the Youth Co:Lab Regional Summit 2023. 

Centered on the theme of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, the participants had a common agenda to encourage and celebrate the role of youth in accelerating the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), showcasing and inspiring action from underserved communities, and finding solutions to support the most excluded social groups.

Hosted at the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) in Bangkok, the Summit by Citi Foundation and UNDP is being held in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Commonwealth Secretariat, CVC Capital Partners, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Islamic Development Bank (ISBD).

The Summit convened close to 200 people from diverse backgrounds including young social entrepreneurs, government delegates, private sector partners, investors, accelerators, academia, and other youth community partners, with over 6,700 participants joining virtually. 

This year’s Summit focused on enabling inclusive entrepreneurship to ensure equitable progress that ‘Leave No One Behind’, particularly those from vulnerable and marginalized communities. Young social entrepreneurs presented their inclusive solutions including female-centered solutions and solutions impacting indigenous communities.

“At Citi and the Citi Foundation, we are committed to fully embracing the diversity of the communities we serve. Through initiatives such as the Summit, we hope to bring together partners to support young people’s entrepreneurial journeys and break down barriers that inhibit inclusive progress,” said Peter Babej, Asia Pacific CEO at Citi. 

“Today, young people across the Asia-Pacific region are not only aware of present-day challenges that affect their communities, they are also taking proactive steps to make a difference. If we harness the entrepreneurial mindsets of these young people and involve them in making innovative solutions based on their personal experiences, we can build bridges to inclusive growth” said Violet Baffour, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub Director, Officer-in-Charge. This Summit is an incredibly valuable opportunity as it provides a forum that goes above and beyond to reach marginalized communities and to empower young social enterprises that are bringing services and products to underserved groups” she added.

Youth Co:Lab, co-created by UNDP and the Citi Foundation in 2017, 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. 

In Indonesia, Youth Co:Lab has made a substantial impact across the country over the last five years, benefitting 17,000 participants, supporting more than 300 young entrepreneurs, and launching more than 150 new business ideas.

Recognizing the critical role of youth in Indonesia's growth, Qurrota A'yun, Acting Director for Family, Women, Children, Youth, and Sports, Ministry of National Development Planning, stated, "Youth participation in enterprises is crucial to Indonesia's growth due to their significant population share. Indonesian youth represent approximately 24 percent of the population, totaling 65.82 million people, according to the National Statistics Agency. Therefore, UNDP and the Youth Co:Lab initiative have been strategic partners for Bappenas in engaging meaningful youth participation as we strive to achieve the goals of the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024. Through programs aimed at upskilling young entrepreneurs and increasing their social impact, Youth Co:Lab continues to provide access to youths across the country, and we look forward to maintaining this robust partnership for years to come."

Director and Country Head of Public Affairs, Citi Indonesia, Puni Ayu Anjungsari also echoed the sentiment, saying, “We believe that youth is the hope of our nation, and they hold the significant role as the driving forces in addressing social challenges in Indonesia and the world. Indonesian Population Survey in 2020 shows that there is a demographic bonus of the productive age population. Therefore, Citi Indonesia under the umbrella Citi PeKa (Peduli dan Berkarya) focuses its community efforts on the empowerment of the youth. One of them is the Youth Co:Lab program, which encourages the youth’s involvement in providing inclusive entrepreneurial solutions, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized communities.”

"With over 60 million young people aged 15 to 34 in Indonesia alone, the potential for youth-driven entrepreneurship to spur economic growth and social impact is boundless. As the Youth Co:Lab Summit 2023 champions an inclusive entrepreneurship approach in Indonesia and Asia Pacific, I commend the youths at the center of this movement for their vision, drive, and commitment to fostering sustainable, equitable growth," added Sujala Pant, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Indonesia.

As Youth Co:Lab in Indonesia enters its sixth year, efforts are underway to replicate the programme at the sub-national level, ensuring that the impact of Youth Co:Lab is felt throughout the country and its regional communities.

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About UNDP 

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet. Learn more at or follow at @UNDP.

About Citibank N.A., Indonesia

Citibank, N.A., Indonesia (Citi Indonesia) is a full branch of Citibank, N.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Citigroup, Inc., which is based in New York, United States of America. Citi is a preeminent banking partner for institutions with cross-border needs, a global leader in wealth management and a valued personal bank in its home market of the United States. Citi does business in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions, providing corporations, governments, investors, institutions and individuals with a broad range of financial products and services. 

In Indonesia, Citi was established since 1968 and is one of the country’s largest foreign banks. Citi operates 9 branches in four major cities – Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and Medan. In Indonesia, Citi has a corporate distribution network of around 776 locations in 38 provinces. Citibank N.A., Indonesia is connected to the ATM Bersama and ATM Prima network with more than 197,000 ATM terminals spread across various locations throughout Indonesia.

About Citi Foundation 

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit