Why You Should Apply to Citypreneurs
Fancy yourself a changemaker? You’re young, have a great team, a stunning idea, and the motivation to see it realized. You live in a city (any city in the world) and have found a solution to solve one of its urban problems as soon as possible but need that extra boost to put you in the spotlight and connect you with the right people. That’s where we come in.
The UN recognizes that young people are one of the most crucial resources for innovative development. Furthermore, today’s youth are the most digitally and physically connected generation in history and are flocking to urban spaces. You, dear reader, are key in the 2030 Agenda’s initiative to “leave no one left behind”. Young innovators like you are coming up with completely new angles to tackle current issues.
Take Rareform, which converts billboard advertisements into fashionable, one-of-a-kind accessories. As the brand takes off, it makes sustainability cool while still making money and providing meaningful jobs. The business falls in step with SDG 12 “responsible consumption and production” by responsibly sourcing materials for our consumptive lifestyle. The challenge of this goal is to “do more and better with less”. Startups with creative ideas to buck current consumption and production trends can actively contribute to achieving this goal. Some potential sustainable businesses could include: proliferating renewable energy sources, saving fresh food from going to waste, or incentivizing people to make smarter purchases.
Born out of a collaborative effort between the United Nations and the city of Seoul, Citypreneurs offers you a chance to join an innovative ecosystem that connects young entrepreneurs with public officials, private investors, IT professionals, and international organizations. You will get to pitch your business model in Seoul, Republic of Korea, for a chance to win the backing of a strong international network.
Applications open on June 1st, so keep your eyes glued on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) and website for more news. Following a mentorship program with workshops and expert consultations for our top 30 selected teams, the main competition and policy dialogue will take place on October 31st.
Applicants should have business ideas that comply with the 3 themes of the 2018 competition. These themes fall in step with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and more enterprises that support them will help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Here is a little break down of each theme, along with some SDGs that they address (get creative – all of them are intrinsically related).
GREEN ENERGY is related to SDG 7 “affordable and clean energy” but synergizes with all the other goals. Energy is central to every facet of urban life. Without consistent sources of clean energy, we won’t be able to solve the major problems facing cities today. Finding ways to rely on sustainable energy while maintaining growth for all members of society is key to our future development.
URBAN MOBILITY is related to SDG 9 “industry, innovation, and infrastructure” and SDG 11 “sustainable cities and communities”. It also helps urban dwellers achieve SDG 8 “decent work and economic growth” because people need effective methods to commute to work. One area many cities need to work on to achieve safe and sustainable transportation methods is increasing access for those in vulnerable situations like the elderly or the disabled. Before we can put in good work, we must be able to get to work.
SOCIAL PROTECTION is related to virtually all the SDGs in as far as they provide fair, safe, and meaningful lives for all members of society. Since 1990, income inequality has been increasing in developing countries, threatening proper standards of living for disadvantaged people, yet economic risks are not the only focus of this theme. In order to reduce poverty and vulnerability, we should also address social risk factors such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability, age, gender equality, etc. Some nations have shown great progress through public-private partnerships to close gaps in society. Businesses like yours can do much to ensure that no one gets left behind as we head towards a better future.
Citypreneurs acknowledges that startups might be at various stages of development by offering two tracks. Startups at the earlier stages are welcome to apply for the Seed Track. Maybe you have had that eureka moment and a strong team but don’t possess the funds to create a prototype. Winning in this category would mean that your product could come into the real world. Backed by mentors from various sectors, it will have a high chance of building up a following in the marketplace.
Alternatively, startups with a market-tested prototype are encouraged to apply for the Growth Track. If you’re at this stage, you want high level mentorship to direct your business where it would be most effective and the money to take it there sooner rather than later. Perhaps you could expand your business to another country or find a use for your product that you never envisioned before. This two-track system provides more opportunities for startups at virtually any stage or corner of the world. You should feel encouraged to participate as there is now a better chance you will be recognized.
By applying to Citypreneurs, you have the chance to realize your dreams. After reviewing applications, Citypreneurs will select a total of 30 finalist teams. These teams will receive the privilege to meet with high level investors, public officials and industry insiders for quality mentoring sessions. In addition to prime time pitching and networking opportunities, one member of the team will have their travel costs to Seoul, Republic of Korea, covered.