Frequently asked questions


When can I apply?

The UNLEASH application is closed for 2019, but will open again next year for new applications. Stay tuned on our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram for updates.

What kind of talent characteristic is UNLEASH looking for?

Talents are selected based on five criteria.

  • Demonstrated passion and commitment to solving the world’s pressing challenges
  • Possession of a creative and innovative mindset
  • Willingness to engage in co-creation with peers and experts
  • High proficiency in English with the ability to engage in complex discussions
  • Approximately 20-35 years old
  • Bonus: Direct experience working in a development context, e.g. field work

What kind of talent profiles is UNLEASH looking for?

Talents must fulfill one of the following:

  • Entrepreneurs: Recently launched/or considered launching start-ups, organizations, or campaigns at a very early stage (both non- and for-profit)
  • Intrapreneurs: Improved or changed entities, e.g. through R&D, business development, or organizational changes
  • Academia: Acquired in-depth content knowledge, e.g. via a PhD position, post-doctoral position, research projects, or advanced master courses
  • Technical experts: Possession of skills, tools, or know-how (e.g. in storytelling, design, technology, etc.)

What kind of talents is UNLEASH not looking for?

UNLEASH is not an accelerator for existing ideas, but rather a place for collaboration and unfolding of new ideas. UNLEASH seeks to source early stage ideas and applicants need to be willing to work with others.

As such, applicants will not qualify for UNLEASH if they:

  • Are not willing to work on completely new ideas or challenge their existing idea significantly through collaboration with other participants
  • Launched their current idea in an entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial capacity that they are working on full-time, and intend to only use UNLEASH to further this idea
  • Have generated revenue (e.g. from customers, users) or raised funding (e.g. from grants, investors) for their current / newest idea, and intend to use UNLEASH to work on this idea
  • Have multiple full-time paid employees working on their current / newest idea.

 Can teams apply?

No, UNLEASH will only accept applications in individual capacity. UNLEASH talents will work together to define challenges and co-create solutions, and thus anyone working on a team is already too advanced for UNLEASH.

Are nominated talents guaranteed a spot at UNLEASH?

Nominated talents will receive a pass through the first round of the evaluation process. However, nominations do not guarantee a spot and selection will be based on evaluation of qualifications.

What kind of questions will I need to answer in the application?

You can access the application to see the questions starting on March 18, 2019. For specific questions regarding the individual application questions, submission and login, please see our Application FAQ.


Intellectual Property rights

Who owns the Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the ideas/solutions after UNLEASH?

To the extent that participants’ participation in UNLEASH give rise to intellectual property, hereunder copyrights, patent rights, and design rights, participants work within their teams to determine future ownership. UNLEASH, and its partners, cannot claim any IP, and are not liable to solve any disputes within teams. However, UNLEASH does retain rights to use solutions developed during UNLEASH for publicity.



Do I have to pay for my own transport expenses to Shenzhen?

You do not have to pay for your own travel expenses. Once accepted, talents will submit their travel information to UNLEASH, specifying travel dates, cities of origin, and other relevant details. UNLEASH will then provide information on how travel is booked.

Can I extend my stay beyond the program?

Talents can choose to extend their stay in Shenzhen up to the number of days allowed by their visa. However, UNLEASH will only cover the costs of flights between talents’ specified home country and Shenzhen and will not be able to cover ticket costs, if the selected return date is more expensive than the return date suggested by UNLEASH.

I don’t have a valid passport. Can I still apply to UNLEASH 2019?

While you are not required to have a valid passport at the time of application, you must be able to present a valid passport in order to confirm your spot at UNLEASH. We therefore encourage applicants to apply for and obtain a passport by 1 June 2019 at the latest, to ensure that you have one on hand in case you are accepted to the program.

Do I need a visa, and if I do, when and where to request?

Please check out to see if you need a visa and where to get it. It is generally recommended that talents apply for visas 2-3 months in advance of travelling to China. If accepted, talents will receive detailed instructions for how to go about visas.

Do I need a visa, and if I do, when and where to request?

Most travelers to China will need to apply for a visa, with only a few exceptions. Please check out to see if you need a visa and where to get it.

It is generally recommended that talents apply for visas 2-3 months in advance of travelling to China. Upon acceptance to UNLEASH, talents will receive a step-by-step instruction email as well as an invitation letter to facilitate the visa application.

What type of visa do I need if I get accepted to UNLEASH?

You will need to apply for an F – Visa to attend UNLEASH 2019 in Shenzhen. F-Visas are issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.

Do I need to make an appointment in advance to apply for a visa?

Some Chinese Embassies will require you to book an appointment for your visa application online. Please contact your relevant embassy or consulate to find out how to make an appointment for your visa application.

How long does it take to get a visa?

Normally, embassies and consulates can handle visas within 10 to 12 working days. In certain cases, visa approval can take longer. It is thus advised that talents apply for visas 2-3 months in advance of travelling to China.

You must have received a valid visa by October 1, 2019 to attend UNLEASH.

Is there an express service to obtain a visa?

If you need urgent service, please inform the visa officer when you submit your visa application. In some cases, visa officers may meet these requirements. Note that this approach is not recommended, and it will require you to pay an additional fee. UNLEASH will not cover this fee.

Can I entrust someone else to organize my visa for me?

You can. The Chinese Embassy or Consulate General may, however, request the applicant to come to the embassy in person, so make sure to check-up on this.

How much will my visa cost?

Visa costs differ depending on the country you will be travelling from. Please find out your relevant visa cost (e.g. on if applicable).

Will UNLEASH cover my visa expenses?

UNLEASH has subtracted the estimated visa costs (varying from country to country) from the $150 participation fee. This calculation is pre-determined by the system and cannot be changed or adjusted. Any other costs arising from your visa application will have to be covered by the talent them self.

Will UNLEASH cover my travel expenses to the visa office?

UNLEASH does not cover your expenses for transport to and from the visa office. Talents who are unable to cover the costs of transportation to a visa office can apply for UNLEASH to cover these costs as part of a scholarship application, but talents are not guaranteed coverage.

What payment methods do the embassies and consulates accept?

Depending on your country of residence, embassies and consulates will demand different charging methods. It is advised that you directly consult your relevant embassy or consulate in order to be informed of the right payment method.

Who should I contact if my visa application is declined or if I experience visa issues that may impact my participation at UNLEASH?

If you are experiencing visa-related problems, please email [email protected].


For other questions related to the visa application, please refer to the Chinese embassy or consulate in your country of residence.


Can I arrive later and/or leave earlier?

No. You must be present during the entire event and ready to check in prior to the opening ceremony.



Who will cover the costs of participation?

UNLEASH will cover the costs of flights, visa, local transport, accommodation, food, curriculum, facilitation, and program activities for the entire event. UNLEASH charges USD 150 as a participation fee.

Do I have to pay a participation fee?

Talents must pay a participation fee of USD 150. If you are accepted, you will receive information on how this fee is collected.

What if I do not have enough funds to pay the participation fee?

You have the option of applying for a scholarship that exempts you from paying the participation fee. For more information about scholarships, please see the below section.

Will UNLEASH cover my visa expenses?

UNLEASH will cover visa application fees. Upon being accepted, talents will receive instructions on when and how to submit receipts documenting their visa application costs, and how their reimbursements will be made.

Will UNLEASH cover my travel expenses to the visa office?

UNLEASH does not cover your expenses for transport to and from the visa office. Talents who are unable to cover the costs of transportation to a visa office can apply for UNLEASH to cover these costs as part of a scholarship application, but talents are not guaranteed coverage.

Will UNLEASH cover my travel expenses to the airport when leaving for UNLEASH?

UNLEASH will not cover the costs of talents travelling from their home to or from the airport from which they are flying.

Will UNLEASH cover transportation during the event?

UNLEASH will provide talents with transportation throughout the event, including transportation from Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport to the venue and upon departure as well.



What is a scholarship?

UNLEASH aims to attract talents from all walks of life. As part of our mission to source and empower global talents, we want to make sure that anyone with the drive and commitment to create a more sustainable world can become part of UNLEASH at no or very limited personal cost. We are therefore happy to provide scholarships to applicants who would otherwise not be able to attend UNLEASH.

The scholarship exempts talents from having to pay a participation fee of USD 150 to attend UNLEASH and reimburses the visa application fee. In rare cases, UNLEASH may also reimburse transportation costs associated with visa application. UNLEASH will only do so in cases where the transportation cost is significant (e.g. if you must travel a very long distance to the nearest visa center). Note that you must be able to document that you have travelled by the cheapest reasonable mode of transport.

Who is eligible for a scholarship?

Anyone may submit an application for a scholarship. However, only talents whom are deemed unable to pay the participation fee of USD 150 will be granted a scholarship. UNLEASH will assess eligibility on a case by case basis through a separate scholarship application process.

Will submitting a scholarship application influence my application to become a talent?

The scholarship does not influence your chances of being selected. However, if you apply for a scholarship and your scholarship application is rejected, we will assume that you will not be able to attend UNLEASH and will automatically decline your UNLEASH application.

 How can I apply for a scholarship?

When applying to become a talent at UNLEASH 2019, you will find at the bottom of the application form a link to a separate scholarship application. Applications may be submitted starting on March 18 2019 and ending on April 25 2019. Please note that you must have submitted your scholarship application by April 25, 2019. If we have not received your scholarship application by this date, you cannot apply for one later.

What kind of questions will I need to answer to apply for a scholarship?

In applying for a scholarship, applicants will be asked to describe their financial situation, detailing their country of residence, current occupation, level of income and expected costs of participating in UNLEASH.

When will I find out whether my scholarship has been approved?

You will find out if your scholarship has been approved at the same time that you are accepted as a talent for UNLEASH 2019.

When should I submit my receipts?

Receipts must be provided (with English translation) by October 1, 2019. Please note that if you do not submit your receipts on time, UNLEASH may not be able to reimburse your costs.  

When will I receive my reimbursement?

We aim to have completed all reimbursements by the end of the UNLEASH event. However, please note that transactions may take time based on the complexity of the documentation provided and individual bank processing times. The latest date by which you may receive your reimbursement will therefore be 15 February 2020.



Where will I be staying?

You will receive notice of where you are staying, if you are selected.

Can I get a single room?

You will receive notice about rooms, if you are selected.

Can I bring family, children or friends to UNLEASH?

No, unfortunately, we do not allow individuals other than accepted talents to attend UNLEASH.



I have certain dietary restrictions; will these be taken into consideration?

Yes. Prior to your attendance, you will be asked to submit information on any special needs. 



Can I call UNLEASH if I have an urgent safety problem?

Yes, you can. During the event there will be an emergency number for you to call if you experience any problems.



Can and should I bring my computer?

Yes, we encourage you to bring your laptop. However, UNLEASH is not liable for laptops being damaged or lost during the event.

I do not have a laptop, is that a problem?

No, that is not a problem. As an UNLEASH participant, you are welcome with or without a laptop, but if you have a laptop, you are encouraged to bring it.

Will I receive a sim card during my stay in Shenzhen?

No, UNLEASH will not provide sim cards to talents. Talents wishing to purchase a sim card can do so upon arrival in Shenzhen. Please note that Chinese sim cards are tied to their issuing province, meaning that talents should keep Guangdong province in mind when selecting a sim card. Remember to switch of data roaming when you arrive, to avoid huge costs. Use of phone or data will not be covered by UNLEASH.