Extended deadline, new category added: Global young entrepreneurs pitch contest
(Geneva/Ulaanbaatar) – Young entrepreneurs of developing countries with green, sustainable solutions have a chance to pitch their businesses to win seed funding at a global conference organized by the United Nations and the Government of Mongolia.
The contest takes place as part of the World Export Development Forum, the flagship event of the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC). ITC is the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization and focuses on connecting small businesses to global markets.
To enter, the entrepreneur must be under 35 years of age and the business must promote sustainability, circularity and/or the green economy. The company must be majority-run by a young person and be registered in a developing country. (See the list of eligible countries here.)
Apply for the Youth Ecopreneurs Award here. The extended deadline to apply is 10 May 2023.
The top four finalists (one from Mongolia and three from other countries) will travel to Ulaanbaatar to pitch their businesses on 27 June, which is International Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. Prizes include $5,000 to support business development; access to the Google Startups for Sustainable Development Programme; training from Google; pitch training from ITC; specialized support on intellectual property protection from the World Intellectual Property Organization; links to investors for additional funding; pro bono legal services from Sidley Austin; international exposure through communications coverage from ITC; and a fully funded trip to Mongolia to attend the conference.
Spotlighting land restoration
This year's pitch award will shed a particular spotlight on the issue of land restoration, with the introduction of a specialized award in partnership with the G20 Global Land Initiative at the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. The top three finalists in this category will also travel to Ulaanbaatar.
To be eligible for this specialized award, the entrepreneur must meet the same requirements listed above, and run a business that supports one or more of the following areas of work: reforestation or afforestation; soil conservation and enrichment; wetland restoration; erosion control; cleanup of contaminated land; agroforestry and carbon farming; invasive species control; forest or urban woodland fire management; stream and river restoration; and use of modern technology for any of the above.
Prizes include $5,000 to support business development; training from Google, pitch training from ITC; specialized support on intellectual property protection from the World Intellectual Property Organization; links to investors for additional funding; pro bono legal services from Sidley Austin; international exposure through communications coverage from ITC; and a fully funded trip to Mongolia to attend the conference.
Apply for the Youth Ecopreneur Awards, including the specialized award on land restoration, here. The deadline to apply is 10 May 2023.
Building on best practices
The contest combines the best of ITC’s three previous pitch competitions at the World Export Development Forum with its Youth Ecopreneur Awards. The emphasis on green trade aligns with the conference theme and encourages policymakers to scale up support to young entrepreneurs as they reorient economies towards greener trade.
Past winners of the pitch competition at the World Export Development Forum include Michael Ocansey of Ghanaian agritech start-up AgroCenta (2017 in Budapest, Hungary); Charles Ofori Antipem of Ghanaian social enterprise Dext Technology (2018 in Lusaka, Zambia); and Siyabonga Tshabalala of the South African recycling and waste management company Siyabuddy (2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).
Past winners of the Youth Ecopreneur Awards organized by the ITC Ye! Community, the global online community of young entrepreneurs, include Douglas Baguma of solar energy business Innovex of Uganda; Vedant Gandhi of waste upcycling company recycleX of India; and Lidia Diaz of plant-based food company Plant Powered of the Dominican Republic.
Diversifying through green, digital trade
The 2023 edition of the World Export Development Forum will take place from 26-29 June, under the theme of ‘Diversify with Green Trade’, exploring organic, digital and sustainable solutions to multiple crises. While the conference theme is global, there is a focus on the Asia-Pacific region, as well as exploration of trade opportunities for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). Mongolia is the world's second largest landlocked country.
Mongolia, strategically located between Europe and Asia, has potential to expand its value-added agribusiness and services, including digital services. It hosts a vibrant small business sector, including an educated workforce of women and youth-led firms.
The conference will be hosted by the Government of Mongolia, led by the Office of the President, in close partnership with the United Nations Country Team for Mongolia.
Notes to the Editor
For more information on WEDF 2023, visit: World Export Development Forum (WEDF) | ITC (intracen.org)
To register for WEDF 2023, visit: World Export Development Forum 2023: Mongolia (26-29 June 2023): Overview · Indico
About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org.
About the Ye! Community: The ITC Ye! Community powered by the Youth and Trade Programme is aimed at helping youth entrepreneurs to build scalable and sustainable businesses. The Ye! Community provides access to a global network of youth, mentors and ecosystem enablers, as well as free access to start-up tools, country guides, resources, events and business opportunities.
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
E: pak [at] intracen.org
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