I4A at the 2017 Summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations

August 9-12  |  United Nations Headquarters, New York City

We are excited to partner with the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation to host a special program focused on youth entrepreneurship as a catalyst for sustainable development during the 2017 Summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations. The Youth Assembly at the UN represents a tremendous platform to ensure youth engagement and participation in achieving an inclusive and sustainable future. Our program will provide its participants with a unique new opportunity to take an active role in shaping the global development agenda.

Utilize the new insights, knowledge, and friendships you build during the Youth Assembly to develop your own idea for how we can deliver the 2030 Development Agenda! We invite all Youth Assembly participants to share their ideas with us and participate in the 2018 Ideas for Action Competition. Winners will present their ideas at the IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia, and will receive support from a dedicated startup accelerator at the Wharton School. To hear from experts at the World Bank and refine your idea, join our workshop at the Youth Assembly!


Our workshop, From Ideas to Action: How to Design a Successful Entrepreneurship Venture to Implement the Sustainable Development Goals,  during the Youth Assembly at the UN in New York will focus on how young entrepreneurs can translate innovative ideas into successful entrepreneurship ventures. We will focus particularly on approaching innovation from a broader social and environmental context. Rather than merely developing a simple business plan, you will learn to think critically to develop ideas that are scalable and create measurable, systemic change to help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. With these ideas in mind, participants will then hear from experts about how they can apply cutting-edge implementation tools such as innovative financing solutions, including Blended Finance, and public-private partnership models to put their ideas into practice. 

Need Inspiration?

Take a look at winning projects from the last two years:

 How can I participate?

All Youth Assembly delegates are invited to participate in the Ideas for Action Competition. While participation in the workshop is not mandatory, we highly recommend you join us to learn about how entrepreneurship can advance development and to work on your own idea.

Participants are strongly encouraged to submit a short executive summary of an idea or topic they would like to pursue prior to the workshop (view a sample here). This will allow us to match you with other delegates based on your interests to help you form teams and our mentors to provide you with feedback during the Youth Assembly. By submitting your executive summary, you will be able to begin thinking about your idea and take full advantage of the workshop to work on your own venture. Please send us your final executive summary no later than Friday, August 18. We will then send you additional materials to help you finalize your full proposal by September 17, 2017.

The Youth Assembly winners will be announced in the fall and will receive support from our dedicated startup accelerator at the Wharton School to continue refining their idea. They will then automatically advance to the second round of the 2018 Ideas for Action Competition with a chance to win the opportunity to present their idea at the 2018 IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us:  ideas4action@wharton.upenn.edu

—       Timeline      —


  • Workshop at the 2017 Youth Assembly at the UN: August 10, 2017
  • Deadline for submitting Executive Summaries: August 18, 2017
  • Deadline for submitting full proposals: September 17, 2017
  • Announcement of Youth Assembly Winners: October 29, 2017

The top proposals will automatically advance to the second round of the 2018 Ideas for Action Competition and receive support from our accelerator at the Wharton School.

Why Entrepreneurship?

An estimated 425 million young women and men will join the labor force between now and 2030, such that about half a billion jobs will need to be created within the next 15 years. At the same time, the ambitions set by the SDGs require trillions of dollars to be invested in emerging markets by 2030. Entrepreneurship will therefore play a critical role in promoting growth and employment creation in emerging and least developed economies alike. The private sector will help generate much needed employment opportunities and expand SMEs along their value chains, ultimately fostering sustainable growth. 

What is Ideas for Action?

Every year, Ideas for Action invites students and young professionals around the world to design ideas for financing and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Winners of the competition present their ideas during the IMF & World Bank Annual Meetings, receive support from a dedicated startup accelerator at the Wharton School, and benefit from unique networking opportunities with other young leaders as well as some of the most senior decision-makers in international development, academia, and the private sector.