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 2018 sUMMIT 

The 2018 Summit occurred 26-28 March 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand. 

The Youth Co:Lab Summit will bring together the young winners from the innovation challenges that took place in the 2017-2018 Youth Co:Lab National Dialogues, as well as representatives from government, private sector and the social entrepreneurship community.  It will lay the groundwork for longer-term regional engagement by UNDP and other partners to empower youth on social innovation and entrepreneurship, and help create an enabling environment for young people to have meaningful and sustained engagement with the SDGs. 

WHo We are


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Youth Innovation Teams

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Ordering a book from Amazon, co-founder Nagendra realised that the company did not deliver to Bhutan. The closest delivery point was Jaigon, an Indian city close to the Bhutanese border. His only option was to have the book delivered to Jaigon and then go pick up the book from there. As hundreds of cars commute this distance daily, Nagendra saw the potential for a startup that would make deliveries more efficient.

This was the start of Bundle, a symbiotic delivery system which benefits both the sender and the person who does the delivery (bundler). A bundler can be anyone who is incidentally travelling in the direction that the sender wants to send an item. Senders simply pay a fixed rate to the service, of which the bundler gets 20 percent. This way, senders get their parcels delivered instantly and bundlers earn a commission.

The Bundle team experienced a great demand for their service over their twenty-day trial period. They hope to get enough investment to be able to partner with a strong tech team, so that they can develop an app that tracks bundlers.



Pema comes from a remote village in Bhutan, where dairy plays a vital role in people’s diets and livelihoods. To produce cream, butter and skimmed milk, farmers in rural Bhutan tend to use traditional manually operated milk churners, which are physically demanding and time consuming. As students of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Pema and the members of the Smart Milk Separator Team used their technical knowledge to design an automatic machine that could replace the traditional milk churner. The machine is user-friendly and portable as well as time and energy efficient.

Since the start of the project, the team have received several prizes for their idea, as well as many pre-orders from farmers and milk-processing units around the country.

They hope to be able to start manufacturing the Smart Milk Cream Separator machine soon, with the objective of supporting farmers to work more efficiently.



Hands On is a social enterprise that utilizes 3D printing technology to produce affordable prosthetics for amputee children in China. In the past year they have made over 50 robotic hands for beneficiaries across 14+ provinces in China. More than 10 hand-making workshops has been conducted in 7 cities, involving 300+ volunteers.



Smart Assistive Aids are high tech tools designed to help older people with reduced mobility. With the help of these tools, the users are able to move more easily and family members are able to assist them better.



33˚C is a social innovation project aiming to decrease the stigma around disabled people and sexuality. 



My Food Plate is a platform where home cooks can sell their products and customers can buy healthy alternatives to fast food.



Project Blue Hearts is an online platform which aims to provide youth-based psycho-social support to those who need it, with the help of trained volunteers. Volunteers would have a psychology related educational background and would work under the guidance and supervision of registered psychology professionals in Maldives.

When psychology student Mariyam Shiba heard about an increase in the rate of suicides in the Maldives, she decided to do something about the poor access to psychological support in the country, particularly for the youth in the many small islands outside of the capital. She felt that an online approach would work better than the traditional hotline, as the country has comprehensive internet coverage and a tech-savvy younger generation.

Through the platform, users can chat, make appointments and read information about mental health. Project Blue Hearts aims give Maldivian youth a safe and confidential platform where they can seek help without facing stigma, while also providing a platform for psychology graduates to obtain experience in the field as volunteers.

In the longer term, Project Blue Hearts aims to raise awareness about mental health and eliminate the stigma that prevent people from talking about mental health issues openly and seeking help when they need it.



Foodmario is a food delivery platform that connects home cooks with customers. Using the online platform, home entrepreneurs can showcase and sell their home-cooked dishes, and tweak their recipes based on the feedback they receive. Foodmario seeks to empower communities by providing entrepreneurial capacity to home cooks and encouraging people to bond over food.

Foodmario’s founder Rohit’s mother is a passionate home cook with forty years of experience. The idea for Foodmario came about when Rohit noticed that despite his mother’s talent, her creations were only being experienced by close family members. He decided to create a platform where people like her could showcase their talent to a wider audience, gaining social and economic value.

Since then, the Foodmario team have been overwhelmed by the response from talented home cooks around the country wanting to join the platform.



Solar Forward is an initiative by the social enterprise Himalayan Innovations that provides affordable solar energy in remote areas of Nepal. The enterprise has its roots in the aftermath of the earthquake that shook Nepal in 2015, causing more than 8,000 deaths and destroying more than 700,000 households.

Sadikshya and the rest of the team were determined to build a support system whereby the people that needed help were treated as active participants rather than mere recipients. As energy was one of the most sought after resources in the aftermath of the earthquake, the Himalaya Innovation team designed Solar Forward, a project aiming to provide solar energy to people affected by the earthquake. After trying and testing multiple models through small pilots, the team decided on a Pay as You Go mode.   

Over the course of this research, the team became aware of the extent of energy poverty in rural Nepal, and so the project evolved from a disaster response and recovery approach to a long-term  project to support rural communities to obtain sustainable access to energy. Their vision for this project over the next five years is to reach out to at least a quarter of a million off-grid households in rural Nepal. 



Arooga Health is a startup connecting care providers to those who need emotional and mental health assistance. The startup was founded by Samantha Sanchez (Sam) and Dominique de Leon (Dom), who came up with the idea after realising that they both had close friends and family members suffering from mental health issues.

With the vision of improving the wellbeing of care-seekers, lessening their potential medical expenses and boosting their productivity, the co-founders spoke to mental health professionals and researched different types of mental health problems, the types of care that could be administered by different platforms and the possible clients that different care providers could attend to.

Based on this research, Arooga Health provides a personalized platform for employees, companies, and organizations who do not have on-site counsellors or therapists and need convenient care access for their emotional and mental wellbeing. The company matches users or care seekers with care providers based on their objectives for seeking counsel, financial capacity to pay, available schedules, and preferred modes of virtual interaction.  

Sam and Dom hope that their project will help end the stigma surrounding mental health and start a conversation about the need to find innovative solutions to mental health problems.


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LawKo is a social media chatbot that aims to bridge the knowledge gap between a legal system shrouded with complicated terms and processes, and a public that desperately needs to understand the law. The co-founders of LawKo came up with this idea when trying to address the lack of understanding of legal processes in the Philippines.

The chatbot will be able to answer questions about civil, criminal and other pertinent legal matters in an accessible language free of technical jargon, empowering average Filipinos to understand their rights and make informed decisions about legal and civil processes.



Phinix is a textile recycling centre that collects textile waste and transforms it into higher value products such as footwear and fashion accessories. It is a fashion social enterprise that aims to have social and environmental benefits,  whilst making a profit.

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, after oil. Every year, over 80 billion garments are produced and only 3.8 billion are recycled. In the Philippines, there is no textile recycling center for proper disposal of textile wastes.

One day, as Pamela, a Clothing Technology graduate, was cleaning her closet, she decided to turn her old dress into a pair of shoes. Surprised at the results, she began to think more seriously about upcycling textile waste. This is how the idea to create Phinix came about.

Phinix aims to collect textile waste, such as donated old clothes from households and schools, and fabric scraps from clothing and furniture factories, as well as fashion companies. Instead of ending up in a landfill, these scraps are used to produce valuable products.

Understanding the interlinkages between environmental degradation and social inequality, Phinix will partner with non-profit organisations to employ economically vulnerable women, people with disabilities and local artisans who face unemployment due to a competitive businesses environment. The Phinix team hopes that the initiative will raise awareness about the negative impact of industrial clothing production and waste.


Sri Lanka

Stranger is a project that aims to make clean water more accessible through an app that tracks water distribution vehicles and marks purified water shops on a map. The app also provides data obtained with IoT (Internet of Things) devices in purifying centres, so that people can have information about the quality of the water that they are purchasing.

The co-founders of the project are students at Rajarata University. At the University’s campus, there is no running drinking water, therefore students have to purchase it from water supply trucks. Concerned about the changing colour and taste of the water that they were buying, and what this might mean about its quality, the students came together to discuss ways in which they could ensure that they were buying safe water. This is how the idea for Stranger came about.

As the problem of access to clean water is pervasive in many communities around the world, the Stranger team hopes to develop the project further so that it can be scaled up and applied to different contexts.


Sri Lanka

Aiming to tackle mental health problems in Sri Lanka,Janaka and the rest of the Psycoders team decided to work on an app that would help people who suffer from loneliness and depression. With an intelligent chatbot that tracks and improves users’ mental health status through specifically designed activities, the app could make mental health support more accessible in areas where psychological treatment is expensive or unavailable. In the long term, it is envisioned that the app could be used by psychologists as part of their treatment.


Solomon Islands

As jobs become increasingly sedentary and obesity rates skyrocket, Emmanuel Oti and the rest of the Balans Kaikai team decided to address the issue of workplace food habits. Many working professionals rely on fast food to accommodate their busy work schedules. Balans Kaikai aims to deliver organic fruits and vegetables directly to workplaces, with the objective of changing the eating habits of office workers.

The Balans Kaikai team hope that this initiative will help address health issues caused by poor diets, while supporting organic farms and promoting sustainable food production.


Solomon Islands

Eco Events is a social enterprise that organizes environmentally sustainable events.



A-chieve is a Thai social enterprise that helps young people choose and plan their career paths by conducting career guidance workshops and work experience placements, as well as offering free online information about careers.

When one of A-chieve’s co-founders was trying to help her younger brother decide what to study at university, she realised that many students struggle with decision-making about their careers, as a result of poor career guidance at school, outside pressure from parents and teachers, and lack of self-understanding. Wanting to help her brother and other students like him to build a career that they would feel passionate about, she came up with the concept for A-chieve.

So far, they have supported over 37,000 students and have partnered with several companies, NGOs, and government institutions, including the Sub-District Administrative Organization of Surin Province, Adecco group, KPMG and Banpu .



Hostbeehive is an indigenous community-based social enterprise from Chiang Rai that produces honey, coffee and tea. Using traditional farming practices such as crop rotation, the co-founders aim to help sustain the vibrant ecosystem and bio-diversity of their forest. Not only is Hostbeehive producing these goods, they are also preserving indigenous knowledge and generating employment for local people. In order to preserve this knowledge Hostbeehive has set up a centre that provides training to the younger generations.



Aiming to tackle the challenges that come with an ageing population in the ASEAN region, the YoungHappy team decided to support elderly people to remain active, sociable and self-reliant.

They aim to do this by bridging the gap between senior citizens and the technology of the digital era, providing personal care and services through an approach termed the ‘Hi Touch to Hi Tech’ solution. Through the “Hi Touch” element, YoungHappy creates a physical space of socialization and networking for the elderly to gather and enjoy time with their peers. On the other hand, the “Hi Tech” element offers online platforms including a website, a Facebook page, a Line group, and a Youtube channel to facilitate communication between the community. It also includes a mobile application which gathers information and provides friendly services especially designed for elderly people, such as an emergency contact calling facility, a taxi calling service, a food and groceries delivery service and reminders for appointments.

The ultimate goal of YoungHappy is to increase the independence and self-confidence of elderly people, which will in turn help increase their wellbeing and prevent the onset of dementia and other diseases associated with old age. So far, the YoungHappy online platform has reached over 10,000 users.



When Matias was working for a company owned by foreign investors, he realised  that many indigenous people in his region struggled to make a living by working for foreign businesses instead of starting up businesses of their own. Having always been interested in art, he decided to set up an art institution that would promote indigenous artwork and encourage people to become entrepreneurs.

The Indigenous Vanuatu Arts Gallery aims to provide gallery and exhibition spaces, art sales, educational programs and events, as well as in-house multimedia training and production. It is a place for young indigenous artists from around Vanuatu to develop their talents and connect with key stakeholders and institutions domestically and internationally. The gallery envisions expanding to the provincial areas to develop art schools and training centres in order to strengthen the fabric of the creative industries throughout the country.



For several months during the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015, one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vanuatu, Jack was working with the Vanuatu government and coordinating food distribution in one of the most affected islands,Tanna. Witnessing the devastation of the cyclone, and the immense burden on the government to provide adequate relief support to a population scattered over 83 chained islands, Jack decided to quit his job and start a social enterprise that would provide food and employment to those affected. He named the enterprise after his late father, who was passionate about these issues.

Neleya Eco Farm Enterprise uses a private-public partnership large scale farming model which emphasises inclusion of all ages and genders, with a particular focus on economically empowering youth. It provides shares for young employees and farmers and manages sales through a cooperative, with the vision of ensuring food security in Vanuatu and encouraging young people to become social entrepreneurs.

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