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 organizations 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.

The programme connects entry- to mid-level managers – aged 35 and younger – across diverse business units 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, company visits and forum discussion
  • Connect with other businesses and collaborate on innovative projects relative to your 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 your 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

Watch the video to learn more

Programme Experience

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

Interested in Participating?

Young professionals working at companies participating in the UN Global Compact and based in the following countries have the opportunity to collaborate with their Global Compact Local Network or local office to participate in the programme.

  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • Georgia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia &
  • Mexico


Call for Nominations: 19 October 2022 – 13 January, 2023
Programme Begins: Late January 2023
Programme Ends: September 2023
SDG Innovation Summit: September 2023

Eligibility Requirements: High-performing employees at a participating company of the UN Global Compact 35 years or younger interested in business model innovation, sustainability and disruptive technologies

Participating companies of the above Global Compact Local Networks may apply via the application link below.

New this year: Young professionals working for companies that are a participant in the UN Global Compact can now form a team of up to four people and nominate themselves for the Accelerator via the self-nomination link below.

Applications open October 2023


Learn what Young SDG Innovators are saying

SDG Action Manager Logo

“The programme offered the personal benefit of the cross-integration of ideas from innovators across North America. Seeing different projects and perspectives accelerated our project and enabled us to think about it on a global scale.”

Chelsie Klassen
Global Director of
Indigenous Engagement,

SDG Action Manager Logo

“The programme has made me a go-to person for sustainability-driven conversations. From being pulled into client conversations to other related opportunities, I’ve seen a personal benefit from the program.”

Maxine Gray
Strategic Project Manager &
Philanthropy Consultant,

SDG Action Manager Logo

“I’ve always had a passion to add value. After being part of the programme, I’ve learned how innovation can be aligned with the SDGs to create the business model of tomorrow.”

Tafazzal Hossain
Human Resources Executive,
DBL Group

SDG Action Manager Logo

“The ten-month programme is indeed a transformational journey because it offers so many opportunities for self-development. Each camp makes you challenge yourself and helps you see the evolution of your initial idea or solution from one step to the other. It also helped us strengthen our interdepartmental cooperation as we sought out buy-in from all stakeholders at Holdal.”

Joseph Matta
Chief Happiness Officer,
Holdal Abou Adal Group

SDG Action Manager Logo

“Thanks to the programme, we gave ourselves the opportunity to find internal mentors within the company who helped us shape our project. This, by far, was the biggest benefit we got. Being able to work with leaders from different areas, with little knowledge about the SDGs, to formulate a sustainability project was invaluable.”

Jimena Perez Underwood
Sustainability Coordinator,

Impact stories

SDG Solutions: Outcomes from the SDG Innovation Accelerator Programme for Young Professionals
Hear from past participants of this Accelerator who spoke at the Innovators Summit about successful SDG solutions that emerged from the programme. Watch now

SDG Innovation Panel at SDG Summit USA 2022
Hear from more past participants of this Accelerator in this “SDG Innovation” panel at the SDG Summit USA who showcased actions American companies are taking to integrate the SDGs into their core operations and discussed best practices in the innovation process. Watch now

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Join the UN Global Compact

Not a participating company of the UN Global Compact? Fill out this form to learn more about how to join.