Fully Funded UNECA Africa Youth SDG Innovation Award for Young African Entrepreneurs

Fully Funded UNECA Africa Youth SDG Innovation Award for Young African Entrepreneurs

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), through its Subregional office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA), is partnering with the African Youth SDG Summit and AfriLabs to showcase the innovation potential of young African entrepreneurs.

The award aims to recognize and reward outstanding young entrepreneurial efforts, that have successfully developed an innovation to resolve a specific development problem for firms, governments, households and communities and with an impact on the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The Africa Youth SDG innovation Award is open to:

  • Any individual of African nationality who was between the age of 18 to 35 as at 31st December 2022

  • Who has designed an innovative product or designed an innovative process to resolve a specific development problem for society, and with a demonstrated impact on the achievement of the SDGs. The innovation may have been commercialized or is about to eb commercialized.

    The innovative product or innovative process must be original and must have been developed no earlier than 31st December 2016.


  • The 6 winners will be invited to present their innovation at the African Youth SDG Summit that will be held in Lusaka, Zambia in August 2023. Further information on the African Youth SDG Summit. All costs in relation to the travel will be borne by ECA.

  • The winners will also be invited to participate in person in one training on innovation that ECA SROSA will organize for small and medium-sized enterprises during 2023-2024. Costs of in-person participation will be borne by ECA.

  • ECA SRO-SA will also sponsor the costs of their travel and participation to the Africa Tech Festival in Cape Town,
    South Africa, November 14-16, 2023.

    The pitch deck and the narrative should cover the same scope, and include the following information:

  • A brief overview of the development problem the innovation addresses

  • A clear description of the innovative solution

  • An explanation as to why the solution is innovative

  • A discussion on how the innovative solution impacts positively on society and on the achievement of the SDGs. The relevant SDGs should be highlighted.

  • An explanation on how the innovation was conceived, designed, applied and if applicable, commercialized (your innovation journey) and who were involved (describe your team members)

  • Challenges encountered in developing and commercializing the innovation and how challenges were overcome

  • A summary of the business model that can be used to commercialize the innovation and potential for scalability

  • The stage of the development of the business (idea / Minimum Viable Product MVP/ established business/gaining traction / etc) including relevant figures wherever feasible (Monthly Active Users, Monthly Recurring Revenues, and others as relevant)

  • How do you see the market for your innovation evolving and what are your future plans.

  • Other information you deem pertinent to include (e.g. challenges for getting innovation patented etc)

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; Fully Funded UNECA Africa Youth SDG Innovation Award for Young African Entrepreneurs

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