NITI Aayog Launches Youth Co:Lab Programme

  • 05 Oct 2019

  • On 4th October, 2019, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed among NITI Aayog, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to mark the launch of Youth Co:Lab programme.
  • AIM and UNDP, as United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF), are collaborating to spread awareness about different issues pertaining to youth, the future of work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through Youth Co:Lab.


  • The programme aims to accelerate social entrepreneurship and innovation among young entrepreneurs.

About the Youth Co:Lab Programme

  • The programme will provide young entrepreneurs and innovators a chance to connect with governments, mentors, incubators and investors, who will help equip them with entrepreneurial skills.
  • The initiative will also convene a series of youth dialogues across several cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote entrepreneurship across India.
  • Focus Points- The first phase of Youth Co:Lab will focus on 6 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
    • SDG 5 (Gender Equality)
    • SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation)
    • SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)
    • SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)
    • SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production)
    • SDG 13 (Climate Action)
  • Under the programme, young people in the age group of 18-29 years and start-ups will be invited to showcase their proposed ideas and solutions to tackle some of the region’s biggest social challenges.


  • The efforts of UNDP and NITI Aayog will be directed at supporting young people with an emphasis on the following overarching priorities: catalysing youth innovation, empowering young people through technology, fostering youth inclusion, promoting youth leadership, and promoting social entrepreneurship.
  • Youth entrepreneurship has immense potential benefits and harnessing and utilizing in right direction will help to create huge employment opportunities, leading to better and sustainable development of the country.

Youth Co:Lab

  • Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, it is a multi-dimensional and multi-level response to tackle the challenges young people face, by positioning them front and centre to find solutions to today’s most pressing problems.


  • To establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To create an enabling ecosystem to promote youth leadership, innovation, social entrepreneurship.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

  • AIM including Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) is a flagship initiative by NITI Aayog to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.


  • To serve as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.


  • Entrepreneurship Promotion: through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation Promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.

AIM has adopted a holistic framework in the achievement of its objectives:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL): to promote creative, innovative mind set in schools
  • Atal Incubators Centres (AIC): to promote entrepreneurship in universities and industry
  • Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges: to promote specific product innovations with social / economic impact
  • Mentors of Change: to mentor students at ATL and AIC Incubators / Startups

United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF)

  • In September, 2018, NITI Aayog and United Nations in India signed the Sustainable Development Framework for 2018-2022, aimed towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The UNSDF outlines the development cooperation strategy between the Government of India and the United Nations Country Team in India, in support of the achievement of India’s key national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Focus Areas: poverty and urbanization; health, water, and sanitation; education; nutrition and food security; climate change, clean energy, and disaster resilience; skilling, entrepreneurship, and job creation; and gender equality and youth development.


  • Development for All: The UNSDF is underpinned by the overarching principle of the SDGs to leave no one behind, echoing the Government of India’s message of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (development for all). It will help to to accelerate the pace towards building a New India by 2022, an India that is free of poverty and equal for all.
  • Development of Low-Income States: It targets the seven low-income states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP), the North-East region, and the aspirational districts identified by the NITI Aayog.
  • Development of Vulnerable Sections: Work will focus on improving the lives of the most marginalized, poor, and vulnerable communities and people in the country, especially women and girls.

Government Initiatives to Promote Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

  • Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), it is a Skill Certification Scheme to enable a large number of Indian youth to >take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)

  • Launched by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship division, Department of Science & Technology, it aims for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups. It focuses to build an innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem with an objective of socio-economic development through wealth and job creation.

Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE) Scheme

  • It aims to assist Institutions of Higher learning to strengthen their Technology Incubation Centres and thus enable young entrepreneurs to b companies for commercial exploitation of technologies developed by them.
  • TIDE 2.0 provides financial and technical support to incubators engaged in supporting ICT startups using emerging technologies such as IoT, AI, Block-chain, Robotics in seven pre-identified areas of societal relevance.

Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industry & Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE)

  • Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, it provide to set up a network of technology centers, incubation centres to accelerate entrepreneurship and also to promote start-ups for innovation and entrepreneurship in rural and agriculture based industry .
  • Objectives
    • Create new jobs and reduce unemployment
    • Promote entrepreneurship culture in India
    • Facilitate innovative business solution

Way Forward

  • Entrepreneurs play an important role in the economic development of a country. Successful entrepreneurs innovate, bring new products and concepts to the market, improve market efficiency, build wealth, create jobs, and enhance economic growth.
  • While supporting young firms in technology and other new-age innovative sectors is important, India also needs to develop an ecosystem that encourages innovation at more mature enterprises across the industrial spectrum- across the existing manufacturing, export, and rural and <social enterprise sector, in order to give a fillip to the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.