Press releases

Finalists revealed for global young entrepreneurs pitch contest

1 June 2023
ITC News

(Geneva/Ulaanbaatar) – Three African and four Asian youth start-ups will take centre stage at this year’s World Export Development Forum (WEDF), taking place from 26-29 June in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. WEDF is the annual flagship event of the lead UN agency supporting small businesses, the International Trade Centre.

The selected companies will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges at the Youth Ecopreneur Awards 2023. The contest includes two award categories: Green Business Solutions and Land Restoration.

The awards come with seed funding and capacity building. The prize packages for the finalists are provided by ITC, the G20 Global Land Initiative of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Google's Startups for Sustainable Development programme and the multinational law firm Sidley Austin.

The finalists – from Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Madagascar and Mongolia - were selected through a rigorous process by ITC in collaboration with partners, including the G20 Global Land Initiative and advisers from the ITC global network of young entrepreneurs, Ye! Community. Finalists were chosen based on their work promoting sustainability, circularity and the green economy, including land restoration. The finalists went through a two-step process, first a written application followed by a pitch showcasing their efforts to drive change and sustainable practices.

The seven finalists are iPAGE, Bangladesh; Cupmena, Egypt; Sommalife, Ghana; Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovations, India; Liberty Society, Indonesia; Bôndy, Madagascar; and Airee, Mongolia.

In Ulaanbaatar, the pitch contestants will be assessed by a panel of judges comprising the winner of the 2021 Youth Ecopreneur Awards, Vedant Ghandi; Paula Padrino Vilela, G20 Global Land Initiative; Diana Carballo Chanfon, Sidley Austin; Allan Majuru, ZimTrade; and Andrew Ong, WIPO.

The judges will choose the winners based on the value proposition of the businesses, their environmental impact, market potential, team strength, sustainability and scalability of the business model.

The ITC Youth Ecopreneur Awards aims to connect young entrepreneurs to markets and support entrepreneurship, contributing to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Spotlighting the finalists

Finalists for the Green Business Solutions category:

Chirag M G of Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovations, an Indian waste management company, converts agri-waste into sustainable and scalable innovations while creating jobs for rural women.

Abdulrhman Elhalafawy of Cupmena, an Egyptian company, reduces waste in the coffee industry and develops innovative agri-solutions to help combat climate change.

Tamara Dewi Gondo Soerijo of the Indonesian manufacturing social enterprise, Liberty Society, works with women to produce upcycled goods, gifts and green campaigns for socially conscious corporations and brands.

Oyungerel Munkhbat of the Mongolian air filter manufacturer Airee reduces microplastics pollution through 100% biodegradable wool filters.

Finalists for the Land Restoration category:

Max Fontaine of the Malagasy reforestation company Bôndy develops rural communities through agroforestry and mangrove planting to generate socioeconomic and ecological impact.

Mashrur Hossain of Bangladeshi agri-tech company iPAGE provides crop-specific digital advisory services to smallholder farmers to enhance their productivity.

Mawuse Christina Gyisun of the Ghanaian agri-tech company Sommalife conserves and restores shea trees and creates market access opportunities.

These finalists were selected from a shortlist of 419 companies from 63 countries.

The Green Business Solutions shortlisted companies include: Givo Limited - Nigeria, Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovation - India, Cupmena - Egypt, Qubix Robotics - Malawi, ReciclApp - Mexico, Green Composting - Tanzania, Saathi - India, Liberty Society - Indonesia, Angirus - India and Diapo Inc - Zimbabwe, and from Mongolia, Nomadic PowerBox LLC and Airee Felt.

For the Land Restoration category, the shortlist includes 10 companies from seven countries: Bôndy International - Madagascar, Sommalife - Ghana, Clauseph Enterprises - Botswana, iPAGE Bangladesh - Bangladesh, Orda Wealth - Mongolia, Neoperk Technologies - India, Kimalaya Naturals - India, Viva Organica - Botswana, Ecowillow Ghana - Ghana and Climtech Intelligence - Nigeria.

This is the fourth young entrepreneurs pitch competition at the World Export Development Forum. At each of the previous conferences, the national host was offered the opportunity to field independent candidates in the competitive process.

Diversifying through green, digital trade

The 2023 edition of the World Export Development Forum will take 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 trade opportunities for landlocked developing countries. Mongolia is the world's second largest landlocked country.

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.

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.

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Media contact

Susanna Pak
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
E: pak [at]
T: +41 22 730 0651
M: +41 79 667 4660