SDG-aligned start-ups from Asia-Pacific demonstrate business and social impact potential at ‘Citypreneurs 2023 Demo Day’

June 14, 2023


14 June 2023, Seoul – The ‘Urban Innovation Challenge: Citypreneurs 2023’ (Citypreneurs 2023), an impact start-up acceleration programme co-hosted by Youth Co:Lab, in Korea, completed its nine-week-long acceleration journey with the finale Demo Day held at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) on 12 and 13 June 2023.

First launched in 2017, Citypreneurs is implemented in partnership with Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation, and partners with local city governments to identify and nurture innovative solutions to tackle pressing urban sustainability issues, as defined and measured by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, the programme was launched in partnership with Ulsan Metropolitan Government, UNIST, the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), CVC Capital Partners, d·camp, and Korea Midland Power Co., Ltd. (KOMIPO) with the aim to support SDG-aligned start-ups while strengthening the impact start-up ecosystem in Korea and the Asia-Pacific region.

Running up to the two-day Demo Day, the programme provided capacity building to a cohort of 26 innovative start-ups from the Asia Pacific, including Korea, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines, who strive for innovation in inclusive growth, sustainable energy, and inclusive infrastructure. Participating start-ups benefited from a rich curation of dedicated mentoring sessions with industry experts, legal advisors, and impact investors, as well as weekly workshops covering business model development, human resources management, financial resource mobilization, marketing, and impact-profit alignment.


The Citypreneurs 2023 Grand Prize was awarded to Terrabio. Co., Ltd., an Ulsan-based producer of eco-friendly food waste disposal equipment. Also selected as finalists who will be eligible for investment review opportunities by Korean investors are DEEP-AI – developer of an AI-based smart solution for fault detection in aging industrial plants, CBBS, Co., Ltd. – provider of high-capacity graphene products and services contributing to energy efficiency, and EFLOW – developer of a sustainable green micro-mobility solution based on high-efficiency and high-performance magnetic axis motors.

In acknowledgment of the potential to positively contribute to the achievement of SDGs and to the local and regional impact ecosystem, Impact Awards were presented to Buangdisini, an Indonesia-based developer of an integrated waste management system to transform waste into profitable commodities, and GAWIREA, another team from Indonesia contributing to women’s empowerment through solar home systems in rural villages. CVC Capital Partners also presented CVC Innovation Awards to CBBS Co., Ltd., as well as Repla Inc., a start-up that generates high-purity plastic through their bio-tank recycling solution.


About Youth Co:Lab

Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. Read more about Youth Co:Lab here, and initiatives by Youth Co:Lab in Korea here:

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, catalyse 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 fulfil our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. Learn more at

About the United Nations Development Programme

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 planet.