Are you a young African with a desire to collaborate with others who share your passion for creating positive change starting from the local level? If you are a student, professional, community activist, change-maker, or simply someone interested in making a difference on the continent and in the world, the SDG Innovation Challenge is the place to be!
Designed as a virtual, pan-African collaboration space, the SDG Innovation Challenge is a powerhouse for young Africans (18-35 years) to develop cross-boundary, sustainable solutions to grassroots challenges in order to further the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the grassroots level up. Since 2020, this challenge has called upon participants to employ creativity, collaboration, and complex thinking to tackle problems measurably and systematically.
Innovation is a force that sets the engine of sustainable development running, uncovering initiatives that build resilience, contribute to more equitable resource distribution, further inclusion, alleviate environmental stress, and so on! Moreover, we emphasize collaboration and partnerships, in alignment with SDG 17 (Partnerships For The Goals), as a central axis around which our efforts are oriented!
With this background, we present the SDG Innovation Challenge 2023, which builds upon its precedents to create a bigger space for expanded outreach and broader horizons! Coinciding with the Global Goals Week (15 -23 September) the SDG Innovation Challenge 2023 supports the annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals, promising to join hands with over 150 global partners to mobilize, demanding urgency to turn it around for the global goals and supercharge solutions for people and the planet.
The SDG Innovation Challenge is where motivated young people from across the African continent come together to co-develop practical innovations that further sustainable development of their local communities.
There are numerous reasons to participate; here are a few of them:
To participate virtually on 21-23 September, you must register by 31 August, 2023 before 11:59 PM GMT.
Before registering, here are some rules to keep in mind:
Once again, don’t forget to join the Pre-Event Connector Space here!
Register your group by 31 August 2023 11:59 PM Greenwich Mean Time … and take a chance at creating Africa’s next Winning Sustainable Solution idea!
The registration follows a two-step process:
Selected participants will be confirmed by 11 September. Once selected, groups of 4-7 participants will engage over the course of 48 hours from 21-23 September to build a team and unpack challenges faced by their local communities and relating to the Challenge theme. Together, they design practical solution ideas to strike at the roots of problems and tackle them bottom-up!
An independent panel of judges will then assess the solution ideas submitted during the event.
In addition, the top teams receive continued support in the form of digital literacy tools for startup upscale, support for business modeling and business registration, recommendations to investment match-making opportunities, access to business incubation, pro-bono mentorship, and more.
Register today and join a unique pan-African ideation space for young people to come together in developing and connecting practical solution ideas to grassroots challenges while pushing the needle at a global scale.
The SDG Innovation Challenge is open to participation from young people across Africa. Do you want to work across domains and gain insights into the brightest minds tackling sustainable development from the grassroots level up? Here is an opportunity for young, pan-African social innovators and entrepreneurs to change the world, one idea at a time!
Registration for the challenge happens on a group basis. Please see the “How to Participate” section for more.
Candidates must be in interdisciplinary teams of 4-7 when registering. To further cross-sector collaboration and facilitate initial team formation, we encourage motivated young people to connect with peers from across the continent and find their teammates in order to register participation
All registrations will be screened and undergo a pre-selection. Selected participants will be confirmed by 11 September 2023
The ideation marathon will happen virtually and spans over 48 hours. Teams be guided through our a seven-step process to develop sustainable development ideas, which they must submit by the end of the event.
Innovation teams who have successfully completed the SDG innovation Challenge will have the opportunity to get their idea into the open to garner support in their networks AND make a point about the importance of sustainable development and the SDGs.
A panel of esteemed judges selects the winning innovation teams based on a multi-fold approach including diversity, impact potential, and more.
During the Award Ceremony, winning teams present their project idea to a global audience and receive the Award-Winning package.
Meet the judges of the SDG Innovation Challenge 2023!
Meet Spencer Tweneboa Korankye
Business ConsultantRead Bio
Meet Dr. Bernice Gligah
Meet Yaw Adu-Gyamfi
Director for Research and PolicyRead Bio
Meet Gloria Norvor
UX DesignerRead Bio
Meet Nick Coutts
Meet Sylvia Senu
A Certified Strategy Tools Global Coach, experienced trainer, speaker, and digital innovation and transformation enthusiast. He has a 16+ year track record of defining new business strategies, launching new ventures, developing innovative projects, and influencing the youth mindset through training, mentoring, and coaching. Lead Consultant at Mpact Lane Consult. The Founder of Gig Intern, an AI-powered internship platform, designed to facilitate 1,000,000 quality internships and 100,000 jobs for African students. Managing Partner and Trainer at Whizzy Innovations Hub in Kumasi.
Dr. Mrs. Bernice Korkor Gligah is a lecturer at Koforidua Technical University with over a decade of experience in the fields of Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Innovation, and Gender. She has been an advocate for entrepreneurship development and the management of Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises. She believes that Entrepreneurship holds the future.
Director for Research and Policy
Yaw Adu-Gyamfi is an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem enabler with nearly 15 years of experience utilizing the triple helix approach to facilitating engagement with academia, government, and the private sector towards development, alternative intellectual policy making, learning, and competence building in an African context. Yaw has since 2015, founded the Centre for Social Innovations (CSI) based in Kumasi, Ghana with the aim of leveraging design thinking and asset-based development to empower community-based entrepreneurs and innovators.
Currently, Yaw serves as the Director for Research and Policy at the Ghana Hubs Network, an umbrella body of innovation and entrepreneurship hubs in Ghana. In addition, he leads a team of volunteer experts with backgrounds in law, economics, innovation, and research in support of the review and advisory on Ghana’s Startup and Innovation Bill geared towards providing the enabling environment for innovative and tech-enabled startups to thrive, create jobs, and value-added services.
Gloria Norvor is a Senior UX Designer with over 3 years of experience in designing and building tech products.
An expert in the design, development, and marketing of services, he has developed tools, processes, and services that help companies go to market more effectively and efficiently.
He is particularly interested in methods of funding very early-stage projects and the commercialization of research and innovation and has developed an innovation toolkit. The toolkit is designed to increase the survivability of startups and hence reduce unemployment, especially among young people.
He has worked with more than 300 startups and innovation programs in 9 countries and has collaborated in raising more than $100m USD in investment for early-stage, medium, and large companies and the development of a novel type of investment fund based on the use of the vectors to allocate funds across a large portfolio based on the rate at which value is being generated.
Sylvia is an economist, policy expert and programme coordinator with a strong interest in shaping development through grassroot policy, inclusive development and private sector inclusion. She is a passionate youth advocate and advocates the Sustainable Development Goals.
She has extensive experience in research and development work. Her work experience with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have presented her opportunities to build her capacity and contribute to the areas of Planning, Policy, Research, Advocacy, Extractives, Effective Development Cooperation, Private Sector Development, Trade and Youth.
She has made technical inputs into Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Reports, Human Development Reports (HDRs), Development Frameworks, African Economic Outlook (AEO), Project Evaluation Reports and publications bordering on Macro-Economics.
She has facilitated National and Sub-national Consultations on how to effectively localize the SDGs and has advocated the SDGs on several platforms.
She holds a master’s degree in Economics from the Rostov State Economic University, in the Russian Federation and currently works as an Economic Analyst and the Youth Focal Person with UNDP Ghana.
She believes “Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life”.
We are thrilled to introduce you to the passionate and dedicated team behind the 2023 edition of the SDG Innovation Challenge. The organizers have come together to drive positive change and inspire innovative solutions across Africa, that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Meet African Youth SDGs Summit
Meet TECHFARM Hub
Meet Youth Advocates Ghana
Meet Innovent labs Africa
Meet GrassRoots Hub
Meet Melton Foundation
Meet Global Goals Week
The African Youth SDGs Summit is Africa’s largest youth forum on the Sustainable Development Goals. Launched in 2017, the Summit has evolved to bring together a multi-sector coalition of youth, development experts, government and UN entities, NGOs, and the private sector to work together on creating the Africa we want.
In 2023, the continent’s largest youth summit in sustainable development will convene for the 5th time! For more information and to register, click here.
TECHFARM Hub is an Innovation and Business Development Hub promoting disruptive knowledge, mindset, skills, technologies, and resources to upscale young Innovators, Entrepreneurs, Agripreneurs, and Startups who solve pertinent challenges and become productive and profitable.
Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG) is a Ghana-based NPO dedicated to restoring hope, educating and improving the well-being of vulnerable children, young people, and their communities. Among different projects and initiatives, YAG has been spearheading the organization of the African Youth SDGs Summit, an Africa-wide advocacy platform to further SDG awareness and attainment.
Innovent Labs Africa is an advisory firm offering customised solutions and services across the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem including start-ups, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Academic and Research Institutions and Governments across Africa.
GrassRoots Hub is an eco-entrepreneurship and SDGs Innovation Lab with a global community of grassrooters sharing and generating insights and ideas to ensure impact from local communities to a global level. GrassRoots Hub educates, innovates, and incubates start-ups and connects accelerators to leading companies, research institutions, foundations, non-profits, and investors.
An international 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Melton Foundation promotes and enables global citizenship as a way for individuals and organizations to work together across boundaries of place and identity to solve challenges in an interconnected world. Through a global fellowship and collaborative programs in and beyond six global citizenship hubs, the Melton Foundation contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by converging individuals and organizations from diverse cultures, regions, and backgrounds to shape fresh narratives of and shared value through deep collaborations and powerful actions.
The Global Goals Week coalition unites over 150 partners worldwide to raise SDG ambition during the UN General Assembly High-level Week and beyond.