We have a vision to build the world’s leading lab and platform for innovative, implementable and scalable solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
By using the innovative mindset of young people and partner talents with leading companies, research institutions, foundations, non-profits, and investors, we aspire to provide next generation solutions for the SDGs.
Our mission is to accelerate disruptive ideas by engaging top talents in problem-solving and co-creation activities and by providing the support needed to bring the best ideas to life.
“We need to bring cutting edge expertise and entrepreneurial rigor to bear on the toughest challenges facing societies today – this is exactly what UNLEASH does.”Jim Snabe, Chairman, A.P Moller-Maersk
"We are all born entrepreneurs. Some get a chance to unleash that capacity. Some never got the chance. To succeed, we need more young people to become social entrepreneurs and bring this world into place.”Muhammad Yunus, Co-Founder, Yunus Social Business
“This initiative provides the next generation of leaders with a unique opportunity to influence the SDGs and push the world in a fairer, greener, and more inclusive direction.”Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
"The SDGs are a powerful – and practical – guide for making the world we live in more like the world we would like to live in. UNLEASH is making bold strides towards achieving the SDGs to create a better, more sustainable future for us all."Olafur Eliasson, Artist and speaker at UNLEASH
"UNLEASH asks the right questions, reframes them and combines unexpected elements to make unexpected discoveries”Bjarke Ingels, Founder of BIG and speaker at UNLEASH
The SDG challenge is immense. To realize the SDGs, it is estimated that the world will need to invest a staggering amount of between USD 5 trillion and 7 trillion per year – roughly 7%-10% of global annual GDP. To put these numbers into perspective, total investment into the Apollo Space Program (1963-72) to put a man on the moon was approximately USD 150 billion at present value.
New business models are needed to ignite change. To achieve the SDGs by 2030 will require new and innovative solutions that challenge traditional business models and approaches. Many of these solutions will need to be commercially viable as well as deliver value to society.
Talents must be mobilized. Harnessing the next generation of leaders will be critical if this is to be possible – they bring fresh perspectives, open minds, different values, tech savviness, and an appetite for disruption. Who would have thought few years back that the largest hotel chain in the world owned no rooms, the largest taxi company owned no cars, and the largest retailer owned no stores?
Every year, UNLEASH chooses different themes within the SDGs to work on. This year seven themes have been chosen: Education & ICT, Energy, Food, Health, Sustainable consumption & production, Urban sustainability, and Water.
Under each theme there will be sub-themes and a number of actionable insights to guide the innovation work.
Participants enjoy two days of inspirational speakers, team activities and initial work on SDG solutions. They take part in interactives sessions with innovative companies, experts and start-ups, while getting to explore a range of SDG-hotspots around the city.
SDG Innovation Challenge
Talents are transported to 10 Folk High Schools, which are unique learning institutions located in the Danish countryside. The talents go through a facilitated process of innovation, uniquely tailored by UNLEASH. They form teams to explore real-life challenges within the 7 themes.
Culmination and awards show
The talents meet in Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017. All teams present their solutions to peers, investors and experts within their field. And finally, there is a big awards show where innovators and thought leaders celebrate the talents’ work.
August 21st-December 21st
After the event in Denmark the most promising UNLEASH projects will receive take-off support, where the Secretariat will help them by giving access to business plan development, networks, angel investors, mentoring, and accounting services.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the largest global partnership agreement and development plan for the planet ever made. It was agreed upon by all UN member state in September 2015 and consist of 17 goals and 169 targets. The goals ultimately aspire to create a better, more inclusive and more prosperous world by 2030. To make this happen, we need to identify new solutions, create partnerships and UNLEASH the vast potential of young, innovative minds.