UNLEASH launches the third iteration of the UNLEASH Plus incubator program
UNLEASH Plus is a leading global incubation program for solutions aiming to have a positive impact on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The program is co-hosted by Lead Scale Partner, Chemonics International, and supports youth accelerate the launch and scale of disruptive solutions to address major sustainability challenges. Previous editions have accelerated impactful ventures affecting the global development agenda. This year, innovators and entrepreneurs outside of the existing UNLEASH community are invited to participate for the first time.
UNLEASH is launching the third and biggest iteration yet of its incubator program, UNLEASH Plus, in September 2021. While 2020 was the year of COVID-19 and activities moving online, UNLEASH continued to make a difference through capacity building and support to youth around the world, who are solving critical sustainability challenges in their communities. In 2021, UNLEASH Plus will continue to host its six-month program completely online in light of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, and ensure it is accessible for even more young entrepreneurs.
“It is more important than ever to support exciting new solutions to the SDGs. The first two editions of UNLEASH Plus have created great impact, and I am thus thrilled that we are now able to scale up the program to explore what kind of impact we can create when all young innovators are invited to join”, says Chairman of UNLEASH and Carlsberg Group Professor Flemming Besenbacher.
UNLEASH Plus 2021 will support up to 100 teams of talented youth working in teams of 2-5 through the program’s three phases: an energizing and immersive two-day kick-off, a 21-week practical and robust online learning program, and a final four-day event where teams receive targeted support from global experts and pitch their ventures to a panel of judges to secure seed funding. The program aims to fill the current gap of programs for teams who have developed an early prototype with validated customer or user feedback but have yet to fully launch their solution.
During the program, teams will create an effective and inclusive startup strategy, build a cohesive vision and team, develop clear financials to further commercial viability, gain insight into fundraising, design solution delivery for scale, determine a go to market approach, and learn to measure their impact.
UNLEASH continues partnerships to refine program and provide more learning opportunities
As the Lead Scale Partner of UNLEASH, Chemonics International has provided strategic and programmatic input across programs by seconding members of its Innovation team to the UNLEASH Secretariat. Chemonics has focused its support on the co-creation, refinement, and delivery of the UNLEASH Plus incubator since 2019. To help run the program, Chemonics draws on its global network of development practitioners to support elements of designing the program curriculum, delivering specialized workshops for the incubator, and providing expertise and mentorship to UNLEASH Plus teams. The UNLEASH Plus team, which includes UNLEASH Secretariat and Chemonics team members, is focusing heavily this year on accelerating the launch and growth of disruptive solutions.
“We are excited to kick-off the UNLEASH Plus incubator for our third year in a row, and to welcome a new cohort of entrepreneurs and change-makers who are impacting the Sustainable Development Goals. Chemonics is honored to have played a role in the journey of so many talented teams that have benefitted from the program so far. This year we are placing an even greater emphasis in the program’s curriculum on commercial viability, designing for scale, and inclusion so that teams are empowered to take their solutions even further. We look forward to another exciting year together!” says Chemonics President and CEO James Butcher, and Chair of the UNLEASH Global Advisory Board.
UNLEASH Plus is also supported by dedicated members of the UNLEASH Innovation Advisory Board and an extensive network of world-class experts who also contribute to the program’s design, curriculum development, and consultations with teams. UNLEASH Plus is also continuing its partnership with Potentialife for the second year in a row, which gives participants access to the latest scientific thinking from the fields of Positive Psychology and Neuroscience to help individuals and teams discover and put into practice the behaviors that characterize the highest performing, flourishing teams.
UNLEASH Plus has supported innovative and disruptive solutions already making an impact
Since 2019, a total of 77 teams from 29 countries have participated in UNLEASH Plus.
Past winners include 2019 cohort winner, Permalution, a cleantech startup led by women who are fighting water scarcity through fog harvesting systems in coastal climates in Mexico. Permalution was a Dragons’ Den finalist and one of the winners of the inaugural 2019 cohort, and has since won a Catalyst Grant from the Roddenberry Foundation.
Australian strategy and design organization, 123+, a winner of the 2020 cohort, works to amplify the efforts of LGBTIQ+ advocacy through an open-source knowledge and tool repository and bespoke consulting to clients around the world.
Inqui-Lab Foundation, another 2020 cohort winner, is building critical thinking and problem-solving skills for marginalized students in India through programs that teach design thinking. The organization has reached more than 2.800 students in 43 schools to date.
Now, UNLEASH Plus is looking for the next cohort to be part of building impactful solutions that address the SDGs with opportunities to receive funding and support from partner organizations.
Applications open on July 5 and close on July 25.