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Empowering the next generation of changemakers


Programme Overview

The SDG Innovation Accelerator for Young Professionals is an opportunity for participating companies of the UN Global Compact to empower young talent within their organisations to collaborate and accelerate business innovation towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This nine-month programme activates future business leaders and changemakers to develop and drive innovative solutions through new technologies, initiatives, and business models to deliver on their company’s sustainability objectives.

Teams of young professionals from across diverse business units come together to generate bold yet viable solutions that can have a positive impact on the company and the SDGs.

Participant Benefits:

  • Engage in accelerated learning opportunities that include online and in-person workshops, case studies, and forum discussions.
  • Connect with other business units and collaborate on innovative projects relevant to the company and industry.
  • Build work relationships through coaching, mentoring, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities.
  • Learn from some of the brightest minds working on sustainability and innovation from around the world.
  • Be part of a global network of leading young professionals from some of the top companies across every continent.

Company Benefits:

  • Apply SDG innovation to solve real sustainability challenges your company is facing.
  • Integrate the SDGs into your company’s business strategy through collaboration, innovation, and knowledge sharing.
  • Increase employee engagement and professional development opportunities.
  • Tap into an expert network of leading professionals from some of the top companies across the globe.
  • Gain global recognition for participation in the programme.

Programme Structure

Over the course of nine months, each team of young innovators will work on a challenge specific to their company with the goal of designing more sustainable business models, initiatives, and products that will advance the company’s sustainability efforts while driving innovation and delivering tangible solutions with potential market value.

The Accelerator takes participants through a design thinking approach to innovation by focusing on the SDGs. Participants run through each of the below five phases of the programme, equipped with resources, tools, and methodologies that will guide them through the process of identifying a challenge, designing, and testing solutions, and validating these solutions for business value and SDG impact.

SDG Exploration

Challenge Identification

Challenge Definition

Solutions Development

Solutions Testing and Validation

Explore the core concepts around business and the Sustainable Development Goals to understand challenges facing business today.

Identify and prioritise specific SDGs and their relevance for their business as well as the business impact on the SDGs.

Find out how to use SDG impact and assessment tools to build a challenge that is ambitious enough for breakthrough impact and speaks to real needs within their company.

Learn how to generate new ideas and use tools to move an idea from a concept into a fully defined project.

Move their project solution to a more refined version through testing and validation within the company and with external stakeholders.

Interested in participating?

 Eligibility Requirements

  • 2 to 4 high-performing young professionals at a UN Global Compact Network UK participating company
  • 35 years or younger from entry to mid-level management
  • Interest in business innovation, sustainability, and disruptive technology


Innovators are expected to attend five in-person workshops throughout the course of the programme (London locations TBC), in addition to spending approximately 2 – 3 hours per week on on-demand online learning, activities, and group project development.


  • Applications open: 30 October, 2023 – Close 5th January, 2024
  • Programme starts: late January 2024
  • Programme ends: July 2024


  • £2,450 per team of three participants
  • Please note that the UK Network can only accept one team per organisation

 How to Apply

Participating companies of the UN Global Compact Network UK can apply here until 5th January 2024.

Due to high demand and limited places, applications may close early.

Please note that the UK Network will need to confirm company participation before approved companies are able to put forward programme participants.

Contact and FAQs

For further information please see our FAQs

To contact a member of the team, please reach out to Alexandra Ranft (Senior Project Manager – Environment) and Lily Venables (Project Manager – Governance and SDGs)