SDSN Youth launches its first-ever Global Innovation and Impact Awards!

SDSN Youth launches its first-ever Global Innovation and Impact Awards!

SDSN Youth's first-ever Global Innovation and Impact Awards are now live! These Awards aim to recognize and mobilize leading solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals — apply or nominate by May 25!

On March 31, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth (SDSN Youth) unveils its first-ever Global Youth Innovation and Global SDG Impact Awards, which aim to recognize, showcase, support and mobilize outstanding solutions that are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Why launch the Awards?

It has been almost seven years since the United Nations unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. However, we are “tremendously off-track” to achieve the SDGs:

During this time, SDSN Youth has been mobilizing young people worldwide and has witnessed the creativity, innovation and passion of young people who are eager to create change for a sustainable future. Many of them are already developing and even running solutions that address one or more of the SDGs. What they lack is support to scale their efforts to bring about more impactful change.

At the same time, through collaboration with other stakeholders, SDSN Youth has come into contact with many emerging leaders in the private sector and the academica who have built solutions that contribute to the SDGs. They, too, need to be recognized  and supported for a greater impact.

Through recognizing innovative youth-led and emerging solutions, we aim to kick off a movement to scale SDG impact globally.

The Awards

In order to uplift such solutions for a greater impact, thereby accelerating the achievement of the SDGs, SDSN Youth is launching the Global Youth Innovation Awards and the Global SDG Impact Awards. The Awards are launched in partnership with NOVA Impact, which provides Next-Gens, philanthropists and institutional families with resources, community support, mentorship and strategic development to accelerate collaborative action for more impact.

Global Youth Innovation Awards: The Global Youth Innovation Awards are a call for applications targeting SDSN Youth’s network of more than 3,000 young changemakers worldwide building solutions for the SDGs. 

Global SDG Impact Awards: The Global SDG Impact Award are a global call for nominations to identify and recognize emerging private sector and academia initiatives and commitments towards implementing the SDGs, at local and national levels.

Why apply?

Together with NOVA Impact, SDSN Youth will work collaboratively with the awardees to provide seed funding, mentorship and access to exclusive opportunities and benefits to help awardees pave the way forward towards realizing the SDGs by 2030. Examples of these benefits include: 

  • Seed Funding: Awardees receive up to $2,500 to test, launch and scale their initiatives. Please note that funding is only available for the Global Youth Innovation Award.
  • Exclusive Access to SDG Pioneers: The opportunity to collaborate and learn from SDG experts in various fields of sustainable development.
  • Mentorship: A community of mentors and experts who will help refine your ideas and solutions, overcome challenges, attract investors, and achieve your objectives.
  • Impact Driven Community of Practice: A community of practice alongside philanthropists, community leaders, and impact investors with the ability to engage in grantmaking and impact projects. 
  • Global Recognition: Increased visibility in the SDG and sustainability space and the ability to showcase your solutions and commitments at premier SDG events and networks.
  • Impact Education: A comprehensive suite of educational resources to learn and engage more deeply with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking about the launch of the Awards, Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, President of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, said:

"SDSN Youth is one of the world’s most exciting networks of global change. Young people are joining forces to create innovative solutions to the pressing problems of poverty, inequality, lawlessness, and environmental crisis. The new SDSN Youth Innovation and Impact Awards celebrate that creativity and innovative spirit of these young leaders."

Brighton Kaoma, Global Director of SDSN Youth, said:

"The road to 2030 demands that leaders in business, NGOs, and government collaborate with youth innovators, entrepreneurs, and activists to leapfrog the transformation we so desperately need. The SDSN Youth Innovation and Impact Awards are our means to support innovative young changemakers globally in the localization of  the SDGs between now and 2030.''

Chelsea Toler, Founding Partner of NOVA Impact, said:

"At NOVA Impact, we are dedicated to democratizing the investment and impact spaces and we are proud to partner with SDSN Youth on the Innovation and Impact Awards. We know that creating sustainable impact requires doing the hard work of supporting entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs as they scale technology-driven solutions and we are thrilled to continue building out the supportive infrastructure for these initiatives with the NOVA Impact Community and the SDSN Youth Team."

Apply/Nominate today to elevate your SDG efforts!

The call for applications/nominations closes on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 23:59 Eastern Time.

The submissions must have a measurable positive impact on achieving at least one of the 17 SDGs. The initiatives must meet key pillars of impact centered around innovation, collaboration and execution through a systemic and transformative approach that can serve as a building block to scale SDG impact globally. 

Learn more and apply at


For media enquiries, please contact: Amy Au, Communications Lead, at


About NOVA Impact

NOVA Impact is a private community of Next-Gen investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists dedicated to scaling impact-driven initiatives. At NOVA, we help Next-Gen find clear pathways to engagement in the Impact Space through the alignment of time, talent, and treasure. We lead educational cohorts, provide strategic advisory, and connect Next-Gen with projects, mentors, investment and career opportunities, along with a community to facilitate collaborative impact.

NOVA’s community of 300+ includes seasoned investors, philanthropists, institutional families, Next-Gen inheritors, young professionals, non-profit leaders, and mavens in impact and beyond. The NOVA Team supports their community in engaging with the Impact Ecosystem and are honored to partner with leaders like UN SDSN Youth.

Learn more about NOVA Impact here.

About UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth (SDSN Youth)

In 2015, SDSN Youth started to mobilize youth to the forefront of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by connecting young people to pathways of understanding, collaboration and action. Today, SDSN Youth has grown into one of the world's largest and most impactful networks of young leaders coordinating action at an unprecedented scale to accelerate solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

We have forged a global alliance and community where we support more than 3,000 youth in more than 127 countries with the ideas and energy to create sustainable solutions to the world's most challenging problems as they embark upon their quest to accelerate solutions towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn more about SDSN Youth here.

About UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)

In 2012, SDSN was launched under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. Starting with ten thematic working groups on a range of environmental, social, and economic topics, which contributed to the debate and ultimately the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDSN quickly grew and founded its global networks program; a membership-based alliance of top-tier knowledge-generating institutions focused on sustainable development, organized in national and regional clusters. As of 2022, SDSN has over 1,600 members in 47 networks across 137 countries.

In 2015, SDSN launched its official youth initiative, SDSN Youth, to empower youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. SDSN Youth educates young people about the Sustainable Development Goals and provides opportunities to pioneer innovative solutions to address the world's biggest challenges.

Learn more about SDSN here.

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