Youth Innovation Challenge Empowers LGBTI+ Entrepreneurs Across Asia - Pacific Region

May 31, 2024

The Regional LGBTI+ Youth Innovation Challenge 2024

UNDP in Viet Nam

Ha Noi - The Regional LGBTI+ Youth Innovation Challenge 2024 successfully concluded in Ha Noi. The Innovation Challenge was co-organized by Youth Co:Lab co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation with support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to foster youth leadership and support innovation initiatives led by young LGBTI+ communities. 

The Challenge received 142 applications within one week, from which the top 23 startup ideas were selected. These teams engaged in an intensive bootcamp, equipping them with essential skills to turn their ideas into sustainable social enterprises. The bootcamp featured workshops on entrepreneurship, design thinking, financial management, business modeling, professional networking, resource mobilization, and media training.

Key activities included training and sharing workshops, where participants gained essential skills to develop their ideas into viable social enterprises. Selected teams pitched their innovative ideas at the Green One UN House in Ha Noi, receiving valuable feedback from an esteemed panel of judges. During the event, participants also engaged in connecting and mentoring sessions, receiving guidance from mentors to help them refine their projects and achieve long-term success.

"We can't scale things up alone, but when we collaborate and come together, we can amplify the change,” a participant remarked. “Becoming a part of the LGBTI+ Youth Innovation Challenge helped validate our idea and pushed us in the right direction. We received help and support from people who work in and for the community, and learning from other attendees, founders, and passionate individuals who bring the same energy into the field makes a big difference".

The initiative emphasizes community-driven entrepreneurial solutions, engaging private sector actors and investors to ensure the long-term sustainability and social benefits of the projects.

"Everyone has a different identity and whether it is LGBTI, youth, enterprise, but I hope that no one will be vulnerable because of that identity," said Ambassador of the Netherlands to Viet Nam Kees van Baar

“We believe that entrepreneurship serves as a catalyst for LGBTI+ youth to enhance leadership skills and understand organizational management, legal contexts, and problem-solving,” said Ms. Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam. “We trust that the challenge will be a valuable platform for young people, to build an enabling environment for economic inclusion of LGBTI+ youth that provides equitable access to opportunities”. (Read full speech)

The selected innovative projects are expected to grow and create a more inclusive and equitable future for the LGBTI+ community.

The Regional LGBTI+ Youth Innovation Challenge 2024

UNDP in Viet Nam

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 planet. Learn more at or follow at @UNDP.

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

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.