SDG-aligned start-ups from Asia-Pacific gather in Ulsan for urban innovation challenge

Youth-led entrepreneurs from the Republic of Korea and around the region demonstrate social impact through innovation in inclusive technologies, green energy, safety, and heavy industries at ‘Citypreneurs Ulsan 2024 Demo Day’

June 13, 2024

13 June 2024, Seoul – The ‘Urban Innovation Challenge: Citypreneurs Ulsan 2024’ (Citypreneurs Ulsan 2024), an impact start-up acceleration programme, to identify and nurture innovative solutions to tackle pressing urban sustainability issues as defined and measured by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), marked the finale of its six-week journey with a Demo Day event held at UNIST in Korea on 12 June.

Citypreneurs Ulsan 2024 is co-hosted by UNDP together with the Ulsan Metropolitan Government, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation, is a global expansion partner for this year's challenge, while CVC Capital Partners is supporting this year’s programme through mentorship and resources to help start-ups grow and succeed.

Launched in April 2024, this year’s Citypreneurs Ulsan programme provided capacity-building support to a cohort of 24 innovative start-ups from the Asia-Pacific, including from the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam, who strive for innovation in ‘Inclusive and Innovative Technologies’, ‘Green and Sustainable Energy’, ‘Safety and Risk Management’, and ‘Innovation of Heavy Industries’. Participants benefited from a rich curation of dedicated mentoring sessions with industry experts, legal advisors, and impact investors, as well as weekly workshops covering impact management and measurement, ESG trends, human resources, business management and expansion and legal issues.

The Citypreneurs Ulsan 2024 Grand Prize was awarded to Haltenergy, an Ulsan-based startup, for its development of technology that converts plastic waste into hydrogen and solid fuels. The Excellence Prizes were awarded to LabSD – provider of ophthalmic diagnostic devices aimed at eliminating avoidable blindness, and SCHAFFENGOTT Co.,Ltd. – provider of disaster safety products replacing existing fire systems. Selected CVC Innovation Awardees include Oysterable Co.,Ltd. – provider of autonomous recycling machines, and LabSD.

In acknowledgement of the potential to positively contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the local and regional impact ecosystem, Impact Awards were presented to Kepul – an Indonesia-based developer of a waste management application ensuring efficient recycling, and CAS Energy – a Vietnamese provider of green roofs that reduce electricity costs by saving energy.  

First launched in 2017, Citypreneurs is implemented through a partnership among Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation, and other public and private partners to strengthen the impact of start-up ecosystem in Korea and the Asia-Pacific region.


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 foundation or follow @Citi

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. Learn more at and or follow @undp