Empowering Youth-Led Social Innovation: Youth Action Challenge Season 4 in Singapore
Updated: Apr 17
Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation together with the National Youth Council (NYC) in Singapore, recently completed the Fourth Season of the Youth Action Challenge (YAC), – a four-month program that took place from October 2022 to January 2023.
The initiative, joined by NYC, UNDP Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam, and Citi Singapore, aimed to encourage young people aged 15 to 35 to create and implement innovations that address various social challenges in Singapore. This year, 268 youths across 73 teams participated in this challenging yet amazing journey.
The YAC Season 4 aligns with the overall objectives of Youth Co:Lab in several ways. Firstly, it helps build social innovation skills by providing young people with the opportunity to develop and enhance their problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. Secondly, it encourages youth-led entrepreneurship by providing participants with the support and resources needed to turn their ideas into viable businesses for the betterment of their community. Lastly, it empowers young people to take action and drive social change in their communities by giving them a platform where their ideas can be heard and supported by stakeholders across the People, Public, and Private sectors in Singapore.
The program included an intensive curriculum comprising in-person and virtual workshops where participants learned about critical topics to succeed as innovators, such as budgeting, impact measurement, and human-centred design for social impact sectors.
By the end of each Season, selected teams are recognized as "Youth Co:Lab Singapore Champions." The Champions must demonstrate their passion and willingness to continue their journey post-YAC as Social Enterprises working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, the YCL Champions are Spedgrow and Project Enigma, which have developed innovative and disruptive business models to address social challenges in their communities.
SpedGrow makes independent living possible and safe for the vulnerable population. Their smart protection system, embedded within a digital wallet, helps the vulnerable population carry out autonomous financial transactions in the community while providing caregivers with a level of control to protect them. Spedgrow believes in bridging the digital divide and utilizing technology to enable actions that used to be impossible, possible.
Project Enigma has come up with innovative and disruptive business models in the toy industry that challenges the traditional ownership mindset. By adopting circular practices such as retaining ownership of their products and extending their life, Enigma is able to offer alternative options for consumers to access them at more affordable rates and a much wider range.
The winning teams will receive an additional funding of 17,600 EUR, one-year mentorship from Youth Co:Lab partner CVC Capital Partners, nomination to join Youth Co:Lab’s regional Springboard Plus pre-accelerator programme, and mentoring and consultation sessions on a need-basis with UNDP and Citi in Singapore.
By the end of the program, and for the first time this season, selected teams were also invited to take part of a Participatory Budgeting exercise – a community engagement initiative aimed at involving young Singaporeans in the budgeting process by allowing them to vote on YAC S4 projects for funding.
Since the first Season in 2019, YAC has empowered close to 1,000 youths across 255 teams, exemplifying how public-private partnerships can create positive change for youth and contribute to a brighter future for young people in Singapore, serving as a model for others to follow.
If you're interested in learning more about the program and its components, you can find more details at www.youthactionplan.sg/YACSeason4/
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.