For Immediate Release December 20, 2023


UNDP and Citi Foundation Mark Fifth Year of Empowering Japan's Youth through Youth Co:Lab

Tokyo – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation held Youth Co:Lab events in Japan for the fifth consecutive year in 2023, supporting young social entrepreneurs with the aim of accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The year-around Youth Co:Lab activities in Japan centered on the theme 'Youth-led Innovation: Acceleration and Nurturing'. As this year marks the halfway point to the deadline for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, these activities emphasized the need for even greater change to realize a world where 'no one is left behind'.

The activities included online symposiums held in September and October, where young social entrepreneurs, government officials, investors, and others shared their experiences and discussed how to nurture young social entrepreneurs who will create social impact in Japan and at the international level.

The final pitches for Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2023, an SDG-focused entreperneurship contest, was held on 21 November, with eight finalists who passed the first and second rounds presenting their SDG business ideas to the judges and an online audience of about 140 people. Six finalists, including a high school student, were selected as the winners of the Social Innovation Challenge Japan 2023. In addition to an Excellence Award and an Audience Award, a 'Youth Visionary Award' was presented based on this year's theme, which focuses on young people's perspectives on the path to achieving the SDGs and beyond.

The following six finalists were selected as winners:

  • The Excellence Award & CVC Award: Moe Kaneko, Omohibito Co., Ltd
  • The Scalability Award: Ken Tanaka, DelphiMed
  • The Youth Visionary Award: Rihito Kotani, Glabel Japan and Hidemasa Takahashi, HIM
  • The Audience Award: Yuki Egawa, Clean Ocean Ensemble
  • The CVC Award: Tao Keitaro, Tao's Native Chicken

Moe Kaneko, winner of the Excellence Award and the CVC Award for the project “Sylvernia: Providing Caregiver Support and Bringing Surprises and Hope to Careers,” said, “I view these awards as recognition of society's expectations concerning caregiving issues and will continue to work on this project so that carers can continue to support their loved ones positively.”

The winners and finalists will have the opportunity to participate in an online pre-accelerator programme, the Springboard Programme (training), starting in February 2024, along with teams selected from 20 other countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region. The teams who produce the best results in the programme will be able to showcase their business ideas at the Regional Youth Co:Lab Summit 2024 in the Philippines

For more details, please visit UNDP Tokyo website.


About Youth Co:Lab:

Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. | Twitter: @YouthCoLab | Facebook: @YouthCoLab I Instagram: youthcolab | LinkedIn:

About UNDP:

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. | Facebook: @UNDP | Twitter: @UNDP

About Citi:

Citi is a preeminent banking partner for institutions with cross-border needs, a global leader in wealth management and a valued personal bank in its home market of the United States. Citi does business in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions, providing corporations, governments, investors, institutions, and individuals with a broad range of financial products and services. | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: | Blog: | Facebook: | LinkedIn:

About Citi Foundation:

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach deploys the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit Citi Foundation (