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Blogs and Op-Eds by the Youth Co:lab team and contributors from our extensive network of changemakers. 

  • Writer's pictureYouth Co:Lab

The Road to Inclusive Innovation with Youth Entrepreneurship

Updated: May 15, 2023

To truly achieve the goal of an inclusive society, it is important to hear the voices and include people from all backgrounds, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation. However, Young people advancing LGBTI+ representation and inclusion across the Asia Pacific lack spaces where they can share their perspectives and voices to solve related - challenges. The LGBTI+ community across the region continues to face various challenges, including criminalization, lack of adequate legal protections and hostile public attitudes that can lead to widespread stigma and discrimination – such as discrimination in the workplace, bullying in schools and lack of access to essential healthcare services.

In the lead-up to this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), under the theme “Together Always: United in diversity”, Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation, conducted a session at the Springboard Plus programme to amplify the voices and stories of youth entrepreneurs as they journey through an inclusive and enabling space in innovation and entrepreneurship.

It was moderated by Jezreel Punzalan, Youth Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and joined by Youth Co:Lab Alumni Priyal Agrawal, Founder and CEO of StandWeSpeak, and Saurav Verma, Program Manager of Nazariya.

The session focused on raising awareness of the disproportionately higher barriers (including socio-cultural, financial, legal, economic, and institutional) that young LGBTI+ people across Asia-Pacific face that hinder their full participation in the opportunities offered by entrepreneurship and, therefore, their contributions to their communities and societies.

The speakers also shared practical recommendations and lessons learnt from Asia-Pacific experience on high-potential strategies and interventions that can address barriers and strengthen enablers to narrow gaps in youth entrepreneurship and make entrepreneurship ecosystems more inclusive of young LGBTI+ youth. Young social entrepreneurs also shared their experiences in overcoming barriers and highlighted their vital contributions to promoting inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Watch the full webinar:

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