The new UNLEASH+ track

We are excited to announce that at UNLEASH 2019 in Shenzhen, China, we will be piloting UNLEASH+, a new track designed specifically for talent alumni to come back to UNLEASH to further develop and fully prepare to launch a solution that they are actively working. By the end of UNLEASH+, the returning talents will present a full business case to a board of judges, receive tailored expertise for their solutions to reach a new level, and have the opportunity to be fast-tracked into partner accelerators.

What is UNLEASH+?

A pre-accelerator for early-stage solutions with a tested prototype: UNLEASH+ strives to fill the gap between coming up with an idea and being an early stage solution with users and customers. UNLEASH+ is not an accelerator program, but rather it is a way to help teams be ready to fully launch their solution and/or to participate in a network of partner accelerators. Therefore, UNLEASH+ is looking for solutions with early traction or that have not yet entered the market but can be ready to do so. Teams should have a prototype of their solution (e.g. of their service, technology, product, or model) and should also have documented feedback from testing this prototype with real users. In essence, this means teams that have completed the Prototype Phase and Testing Phase gate requirements at the UNLEASH Innovation Lab.

In summary, solution criteria for qualifying for UNLEASH+ includes:

  • Showcase a prototype of their solution (e.g. of their service, technology, product, or model), leveraging UNLEASH tools and Prototyping Phase gate requirements
  • Provide documented feedback from testing this prototype with real users in their target model, leveraging UNLEASH tools and Testing Phase gate requirements
  • Describe and quantify the potential impact the solution will have on selected SDG indicators

Who is UNLEASH+ designed for?

A track for past talents and their teams: UNLEASH+ is designed for talent alumni who are actively working on a solution to the SDGs. This solution does not have to be their previous UNLEASH solution and does not have to be with other UNLEASH talents, however leveraging the UNLEASH community and methodology will be considered an advantage. Talents can bring 1 to 3 team members with them to UNLEASH+ (so maximum 4 team members in total can attend).

In summary, team criteria for qualifying for UNLEASH+ includes:

  • Minimum one team member who was a talent at UNLEASH 2017 or UNLEASH 2018
  • The team consists of ideally 3 to 4 people who will attend UNLEASH+ together for the full duration of the program
  • Team members must describe their role and commitment to the solution
  • Active participation in the UNLEASH community by the talent alumni will be an advantage



What will happen during UNLEASH+?

UNLEASH+ builds on the UNLEASH methodology to help early-stage solutions that have prototyped and tested their ideas to get ready to bring their solution to market. The goal of the program is for the teams to prepare a full business case that can best allow them to do so, and present this to a panel of investors at the end of the week.


The track will start with the deliverables of the Innovation Lab’s Prototyping and Testing phases, and help teams advance their solutions within five key areas of the UNLEASH Solution Canvas: insight (including user/customer), solution, cost/revenue, go to market strategy, and impact measurement. In addition, three extra areas have been added after feedback from the talents: strategy, human resources, and fundraising.

Over the course of 5 days, teams will advance their solutions within these eight areas and leverage the unique features of Shenzhen through a combination of:

  • Masterclasses, lead by sector Masters and social entrepreneurs, and designed to be highly interactive sessions;
  • Team-to-team feedback, building a network of peer support; and
  • Ecosystem deep-dives, to connect with local innovation networks and best leverage the “Shenzhen Speed”.

As teams advance their solutions, they will complete daily deliverables. Each deliverable’s requirements will build upon the daily Masterclasses and connect with each other, with the goal of producing a detailed and effective business case by the end of the week.


At the end of UNLEASH+, teams will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges, who will select winners for funding and in-kind support.


What happens after UNLEASH+?

The goal after participating in UNLEASH+ is for talents to develop a supportive peer network, for solutions to be ready to be launched, and for teams to be ready to participate in a network of existing accelerator programs. We are working on building regional partnerships with investors, mentors, and incubator/accelerator programs that can help bring your solutions to the next level.

Apply to UNLEASH+

Applications are open from 23rd May to 20th June, 2019. Applications are now closed.

Your application requires you to share materials that leverage the UNLEASH methodology, including a Solution Canvas, Prototyping phase requirements, and Testing phase requirements. More details can be found in the application.

UNLEASH+ is a very tailored program and we plan to support you with significant personalized resources. Each individual participant will be required to only pay the US$150 participant fee. With this fee, UNLEASH will cover your travel to and from Shenzhen (within the scope set forth by the UNLEASH travel policy), accommodation, meals, and local transport in Shenzhen during the program. Limited scholarship applications will be available.

If you are accepted, you will be asked to fill out a self-diagnostic survey to assess how developed your solution is in the eight areas of the business case, as well as fill out the Insight and Solution deliverables. As this year is a pilot year for UNLEASH+, we will then work closely with selected teams to tailor our program offerings to each team’s most pressing needs.

Download relevant materials from UNLEASH Innovation Lab:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I apply with a prototype of a service model or partnership?
You can also prototype service models, and a prototype is basically a way for a user to experience your solution so they can give you feedback, so every type of model could have a prototype (a partnership model can have a draft MOU as a prototype, for example). Therefore, a prototype is relatively broad but the most important is having something to test with users, and gather that feedback.

Is UNLEASH+ happening at the same time as the UNLEASH main event?
Yes, UNLEASH+ will also be in Shenzhen, China, during the 6th to 13th of November, 2019.