Avijatrik, a startup from Bangladesh, won the Social Innovation award at the 2nd Youth Co:Lab summit held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 2-5 April, 2019.
Youth Co:Lab is the largest youth social entrepreneurship movement in Asia, supported jointly by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation. The summit brought together over 500 delegates, including hundreds of youth, partners and government officials from 20 countries to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences, to influence policy initiatives on youth entrepreneurship and encourage social innovation leading to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Thirty-two national winners from 20 countries in the Asia Pacific region presented their social enterprise ideas to a panel of judges, among them, Avijatrik from Bangladesh along with other six teams from different countries won the Social Innovation Challenge award in nine categories.
Established in 2015, Avijatrik won the Youth Co:Lab Social Innovation Challenge Award in Community Development category, initiated by UNDP and Citi Foundation for empowering local communities through tourism. The enterprise has already empowered more than 90 communities and served more than 3200 travelers by connecting with local communities using the online platform, avijatrik.org
Nazmul Islam, CEO of Avijatrik, while sharing his experience said, “Youth Co:Lab is a great platform for young people who want to unlock their potential for social enterprise and contribute to SDGs. This is also an opportunity for building networks across the region.” He thanked UNDP and Citi Foundation for creating this opportunity for youths.
Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to empower and invest in youth, so that they can accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.
“As I see the first generation of Youth Co:Lab social entrepreneurs flourish and carry their own initiatives forward, I am reminded of the reason why this work is so important: young people really do hold the key to social change,” said Valerie Cliff, UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Asia & the Pacific. “This is how we can align the grit and determination of young change makers to meet the ambition of SDGs. Our mandate at Youth Co:Lab is to play the role of an integrator and strengthen the ecosystem connecting young people with governments and businesses to scale impact,” she added.
“Youth Co:Lab’s approach of listening to the perspectives and ideas of young people, and empowering them to drive business solutions that address our world’s most pressing issues is how real change happens,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “Only by joining forces with multiple actors from the public and private sector, social partners, civil society and beyond, we can work towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.”