Second day of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Youth: Setting the scene on youth, social entrepreneurship, and the SDGs

Day 1: Setting the scene on youth, social entrepreneurship, and the SDGs

Asia Pacific enjoys the immense potential for growth in different sectors, and social entrepreneurs have used much of their time - sometimes to the detriment of their own and their relationships - to help find solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges. UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake reminds us that social entrepreneurship is a solution, not the solution: “We cannot expect young people to find solutions while conditions exclude them.” The startup and scale-up founders who presented yesterday are proof of young people’s resilience in this space towards realisation of the SDGs.

What is: the fourth industrial revolution?

We’re already living in it! It’s the increasing use of technologies that provide services, more so than manufacturing (which characterized previous industrial revolutions). While we’re surrounded by the technology that improves our lives, so many challenges remain. Technology is not the solution, but an enabler of the solutions that many social entrepreneurs and VCs and institutions think of - so no one gets left behind.

Focusing on: Young women in tech

Competitors from the Philippines for the scale-up and startup competitions are both young women - but does this mean there’s a good landscape in the country and the region? Not necessarily, says Samantha Sanchez from Arooga Health, and Pamela Mejia from Phinix. Both have endured (and won!) different competitions from past months, and as female social entrepreneurs it hasn’t been easy. Sam says that the prevailing misconception on male founders being better than females remains rampant. In competition finals, Pam is usually just by herself or with another female... in a group of dominantly male finalists.

But assuming we include more young women in the startup scene, what can we possibly see? Sam says it can lead to a very creative atmosphere, since new perspectives that were not previously considered can be realised. Pam says that females are naturally social entrepreneurs; they not only handle money for the profit, they handle it for the good of everyone.

Look forward to: winners of the Award!

What a great showcase of the Awards night: everyone did so well, the judges had a hard time deciding which ones to choose. While one of the judges said around 90% of startups fail at the start, it doesn’t (quite) matter - founders can always find a way to improve or start a new one. And you can too! The following won the awards for tonight:

2018 Asia Pacific Youth Outstanding SDG Startup Award: Simbah, Indonesia

2018 Asia Pacific SDG Enterprise Award: Alteryouth, Bangladesh

2018 Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award: No Barriers, China


It ends today! Sad to be saying goodbye soon to an amazing list of speakers and youth social entrepreneurs and ecosystem players. Today is all about commitment, and how to take everything that we learned forward. We’ll cap off with a tour at the Great Wall, so see you soon for the last update!