Youth creativity and innovation unleashed in Indonesia

Indonesia is home to 63 million young people with 23.2 percent of them neither in employment or education or training. With the youth unemployment rate at 19.4 percent, Indonesia is striving towards finding new, constructive ways to economically empower youth through social entrepreneurship, thereby building social capital.

In this huge opportunity gap, Youth Co: Lab found its mission: to direct youth’s immense potential for creativity and innovation towards accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In a recent Jakarta Post Op-ed jointly authored by Christophe Bahuet, Country Director of UNDP Indonesia and Batara Sianturi, CEO of Citi Indonesia, they affirm that it is time to scale up initiatives like the Youth Co:Lab to give the youth a better future.

This comes against the backdrop of the recent two-week startup boot-camp, held by Youth Co:Lab this November in Bali, with support from UNDP Indonesia, Citi Foundation and the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf).

Supporting social entrepreneurship and digital technology is very relevant for Indonesia, explain Bahuet and Sianturi in their Op-ed, especially at a time when the proportion of investment for R&D in the country has remained unchanged for almost a decade. "What Indonesia needs now is higher investment in R&D and quality education, because without those things, Indonesian youth won’t be able to fully participate in transforming the economy into one that can compete globally," they add.

But, here’s the good news: Bekraf’s active involvement in Youth Co:Lab Indonesia indicates a strong government commitment to support youth creativity and advance policy. UNDP and Bekraf even signed an MOU in Bali to support Youth Co:Lab at the first world conference on creative economy, which was attended by 1,000 delegates from 50 countries.

In line with the Youth Co:Lab philosophy of #LeaveNoOneBehind, the focus of the efforts in Indonesia was on empowering young people from mainly rural, underserved areas for the two-week boot camp. The participants, a particularly innovative group, proposed a range of solutions from reducing plastic waste through edible straws to addressing malnutrition with moringa leaf. 

While we are excited that Youth Co:Lab Indonesia has been a great success, there is still so much more work to be done!

To learn more about how Youth Co:Lab is empowering youth in Indonesia through social entrepreneurship, read the full article on the Jakarta Post.