Seventy Young Entrepreneurs Received Seed Funding from UNDP in Partnership with IADE

Strengthening the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Timor-Leste: Innovation and Job Creation through Support to Youth Entrepreneurship

February 20, 2024

Seed Funding Award Ceremony

Julia Antonio Sarmento Belo/UNDP Timor-Leste

Dili, 19/02/2024 – UNDP organizes Youth Business Forum: Public Dialogue, Seed Funding, and Entrepreneurship Training through the YEES project together with IADE at Hotel Novo Turismo, Dili.



Yesterday, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a Youth Business Forum: Public Dialogue, Seed Funding, and Entrepreneurship Training through the Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Skills Project (YEES) and the Institute for Business Development Support (IADE) at Hotel Novo Turismo. This forum aims to discuss ways to strengthen the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem introduce the Entrepreneurship training program by UNDP with co-funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Government of Timor Leste, announce the awardees of seed funding for the YEES Project’s entrepreneurship training, and launch the registration for the next batch’s business training for youth in Timor Leste.


The event was attended by H.E. Minister of Commerce and Industry (MCI), Mr. Filipus Nino Pereira, H.E. The Governor of the Central Bank of Timor-Leste (BCTL), Mr. Helder Lopes, H.E. Secretary of State for livestock, Mr. Valentino Varela, Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Development Support Institute (IADE), Mr. Filomeno Marcelino Belo, President of Authority of Ermera Municipality, Mr. José Martinho dos Santos Soares, President of Authority of Liquica Municipality Mr. Paulino Ribeiro, Representative of Baucau Municipality, Mrs. Maria Celestina, Chairman of Timor-Leste Commercial Bank (BCNTL), Antonio Vitor, Executive Director of SERVE, Mr. Florencio da Conceiçao Sanches, General Director of the MCI, Mr. Carlos Ximenes, Rector of Chancellor Institute of Business, Dr. Pedro Ximenes, The Representative of private sector of CCI-TL, the CEO of Café Natar Rohan, Mr. Kiera Zen, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, Ms. Adeline Carrier, IADE team, UNDP team, Seed Funding Awardees of the Entrepreneurship training, and all guests..


The Youth Business Forum also gathered various stakeholders from different sectors to engage in discussions on crucial topics related to strengthening the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem. The public dialogue covered key issues such as the role of government in stimulating local entrepreneurship, the relevance of the central bank in supporting MSMEs, private sector-led innovation challenges and opportunities, and the role of universities in the triple helix model of innovation.


During the speech at the afternoon event, Mr. Hunjai, the Project Manager of the YEES Project of UNDP congratulated trainees who were selected to receive seed funding and encouraged them to effectively utilize the funds to expand their businesses and create employment opportunities for the people of Timor-Leste.


UNDP's YEES Project, jointly funded by KOICA and the Government of Timor Leste, aims to benefit over 35,000 youth by 2027, with a specific focus on training over 1,800 youth in entrepreneurship and establishing at least 300 new youth-led enterprises by the same year. UNDP is also working closely with the Government of Timor-Leste to leverage additional financial support through various programs, such as grants from the Business Innovation Challenge and soft loans.


Additionally, Mr. Nino, Ministry of Commerce, and Industry, reiterated the Government of Timor-Leste's dedication to enhancing the business environment in the country. During his speech, he announced plans to resume the soft loan program to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Timor-Leste.


The next batch of entrepreneurship training will be launched in mid-March, offering guidance on creating business plans and basic financial knowledge to individuals interested in starting their businesses. 


Looking ahead, UNDP reaffirms its commitment to supporting Timorese youth to become thriving entrepreneurs. Together with the Government of Timor-Leste, UNDP aims to stimulate economic diversification and job creation in the country.


Contact Information: Hunjai LEE, Project Manager of YEES Project, UNDP (UN House, Caicoli Street, Dili Timor-Leste)