Co:Lab National Innovation Dialogue 2022
Twelve start-ups from 9 Indian states emerge winners at Youth Co:Lab National Innovation Dialogue 2022

The winning 12 start-ups receive seed funding of up to $5,000 to scale up their innovations.

Twelve top start-ups from across 9 Indian states working in agriculture, ed-tech, women’s livelihood, circular economy, and biodiversity were announced as winners at the 5th Edition of Youth Co:Lab National Innovation Dialogue India.

Youth Co:Lab, co-created in 2017 by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation, 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 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Youth Co:Lab was launched in India in 2019 in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog. The 2022-23 edition received 378 applications from 28 states across the country.

Dr.Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director, AIM; Ms. Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India; and Ms. Sanjana Sanghi - Actor and UNDP Champion felicitated the winners.

“Social startups are not just businesses; they are catalysts for social change. They address pressing social and environmental challenges, stimulate economic growth, inspire other businesses, leverage technology, and promote collaboration. Their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit drives us towards a more equitable, sustainable, and inclusive future. Let us celebrate and support social startups as they continue to shape our world for the better,” said Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director, AIM while announcing the winners. 

Mr. Ashu Khullar Citi India CEO said, “Citi places great emphasis on supporting the aspirations of youth and young entrepreneurs. There has been tremendous innovation and creativity in addressing various social challenges through the Youth Co:Lab. My congratulations to the top 12 finalists working across important fields for the country’s sustainable development.”

Speaking at the event, Ms. Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India said, “With 254 million young people aged between 15 and 24 years, India has a unique opportunity to lead innovation and social entrepreneurship and make the voices of young people count. I am excited to see the diversity of ideas and frugal innovation the winners bring this year. With Youth Co: Lab, UNDP is happy to provide a platform for young social entrepreneurs to scale their initiatives and recognize, value, and support the solutions they bring.”

The winners across each thematic area received a seed grant of US$ 5,000; while the runners-up received US$ 3,000. This funding will help the winners scale their ideas into tangible products or services.

Felicitating the winners, Ms. Sanjana Sanghi, Actor, and UNDP Champion, added, "I believe that today's young people hold immense power to drive innovation and create meaningful change through social entrepreneurship. Youth Co: Lab offers them a platform to convert their ideas into solutions that transform lives and communities. Youth have the passion, the ideas, and the drive to make a difference in the world.”

Youth Co:Lab India 2022-23 focused on 6 thematic areas; Digital and Financial Literacy for Youth, Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment, Developing FinTech Solutions focused on Biodiversity Conservation, Promoting Biodiversity-friendly Lifestyles through Technological Solutions in Finance, Accelerating Circular Economy through Upcycling Innovations and Behavioural Nudges for LiFE ( Lifestyle For Environment).

Out of the applications, 47 short-listed start-ups received one-on-one mentoring and capacity-building sessions from experts for two months through the Youth Co:Lab Springboard Programme, a start-up support platform for SDG innovators. These start-ups then presented their ideas to an esteemed jury in May 2023, from which the 12 winners were selected.

Since 2017, Youth Co:Lab has supported young aspiring, and inspiring social entrepreneurs in 28 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific. The national dialogues, regional summits, social innovation challenges, and workshops have reached over 240,000 participants. The national youth social innovation and entrepreneurial skills development activities have served over 14,000 young people and launched or improved 1,530 youth-led social innovation teams.

National Innovation Dialogue 2022 Winners:

THEME 1: Digital and Financial Literacy for Youth

  1. SaralX- Enhancing access and opportunities for people with disabilities
    • Founder Name: Akashdeep Bansal
    • Age: 30
    • Location: Pune
  2. Edubuild - Experinships for youth
    • Founder Name: Saksham Gupta
    • Age: 27
    • Location: Jaipur

THEME 2 - Gender Equality and Women Economic Empowerment

  1. Project Baala - Menstrual hygiene for economically marginalized menstruators
    • Founder Name: Soumya Dabriwal
    • Age: 27
    • Location: Mumbai
  2. Agrosure - Mechanisation solution for women farmers
    • Founder: Akshay Dipak Kawale
    • Age: 30
    • Location: Maharastra

THEME 3 - Developing FinTech Solutions focused on Biodiversity Conservation

  1. Gepo Aali - To nurture back the lost indigenous crop variety of the region using ancestral farming practices.
    • Founder Name:Dimum Pertin
    • Age: 30
    • Location: Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Nutty Village - Managing farm to fork organic value chain in groundnuts
    • Founder Name: Aman Kumar
    • Age: 28
    • Location: Uttar Pradesh

THEME 4 - Promoting Biodiversity-friendly Lifestyles through Technological Solutions in Finance

  1. Promeat - Plant based meat
    • Founder Name: Debabrata Das
    • Age: 25
    • Location: Assam
  2. Myplan 8 - Incentivising spend on low carbon sustainable alternatives
    • Founder Name: Rajat Sohan Vishwakarma
    • Age: 27
    • Location: Mumbai

THEME 5 - Accelerating Circular Economy through Upcycling Innovations

  1. Dump in Bin - Using plastic waste in pavement manufacturing
    • Founder Name:Rishabh Patel
    • Age: 29
    • Location: Gurugram
  2. Econscious - Functional and aesthetic recycled plastic products
    • Founder Name:Sonal_Shukla
    • Age: 29
    • Location: New Delhi

THEME 6 - Behavioral Nudges for LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) 

  1. Digi Swasthya- Telemedicine for rural India
    • Founder Name: Sandeep Kumar
    • Age: 27
    • Location: Uttar Pradesh
  2. Sputnik Brain - Non-invasive brain modulation for stress management
    • Founder Name: Shankar Sri
    • Age: 23
    • Location: Banglore

About Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):

AIM including Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) is the Government of India’s endeavor to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Its objective is to serve as a platform for promoting world-class innovation hubs, grand challenges, start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas.

About UNDP India:

UNDP has worked in India since 1951 in almost all areas of human development, from systems and institutional strengthening to inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods, as well as sustainable energy, environment, and resilience. UNDP’s programmes fully integrate a global vision for catalytic change with India’s national priorities. With over 30 projects on the ground in almost every state, today, UNDP India works to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by transforming traditional models to do development differently.

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, catalyse job opportunities for youth and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. Learn more at

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. Read more about Youth Co:Lab. 


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