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Empowering the next generation of changemakers

*Applications for 2024 will open at the end of October  

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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 and deliver on their company’s sustainability objectives.

Teams of young professionals (entry to mid-level managers, aged 35 and younger) 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

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


Challenge Identification

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


Challenge Definition

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.


Solutions Development

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


Solutions Testing and Validation

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

Eligibility Requirements

  • 2 – 4 high-performing young professionals at a participating company of the UN Global Compact 
  • 35 years or younger 
  • Interest in business innovations, sustainability, and disruptive technologies 


Innovators are expected to attend (5) 1-day workshops (a combination of in-person and online) throughout the course of the programme in addition to spending approximately 2 – 3 hours per week on on-demand online learning and activities, and group project development.


Applications for 2024 will open at the end of October.

For further information please see the our FAQs, or contact: Alexandra Ranft, Enviroment Programme Project Manager or Lily Venables, Global Goals Project Manger.