UNICEF Startup Lab Entrepreneurship & Incubation Programme 2019 for Young African Startups

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UNICEF is inviting young startups to apply to co-work from the UNICEF Startup Lab in Accra.

Application Deadline: 30th September (extended from 27th September) 2019

Eligible Countries: African countries

To be Taken at (Country): Accra, Ghana

About the Award: UNICEF builds open-source products and services with young entrepreneurs across the world. We are eager to start building in Ghana.

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Excited about building your business? Ready to learn from local and global experts in business model development,
market assessment, social impact and designing solutions to improve the lives of children and young people?

The UNICEF Startup Lab will provide complimentary expert incubation services, strong community programming, on-site workspace and high-speed internet, great networking opportunities, and lots of free snacks for selected participants.

The UNICEF Startup Lab lives it’s vision of inclusion, gender parity, and lifting up the voices of young people worldwide.
People living with disabilities (PLWD), women and young people (up to age 24) are especially encouraged to apply

Please note, participants do not receive compensation from UNICEF for participation in the programme.

Type: Entrepreneurship


  • Application is currently open for all residents of Ghana (age 18+). Young people up to age 24, and women, are especially encouraged to apply.
  • All applicants should apply as individuals. If you have an established team for your startup, that’s great! Please select one individual to apply for the programme and relay their learnings to the rest of the team. 
  • All applicants should have a clearly established venture idea or minimum viable product. Being at the ideation stage is ok, but you must have a clear picture of what you’re trying to achieve and where you’re headed next. 
  • All applicants should be available during normal work hours for the full 6-month duration of the entrepreneurship and incubation programme. i.e. from Monday to Friday, from October 2019 to March 2020. Selected entrepreneur must attend class in-person, at the UNICEF Startup Lab in Cantonments, Accra.
  • All applicants should fully commit to their venture for the duration of the programme. All applicants must also commit to observe UNICEF Innovation Principles (including on open-source development), and UNICEF policies on Conduct Promoting the Protection and Safeguarding of Children, Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Code of Conduct and other relevant polices which will brought to the attention of selected applicants.

Selection Criteria: When selecting entrepreneurs for the inaugural Startup Lab cohort, we’ll be looking for the following:

  • 1. Entrepreneurs with a long-term vision of how the world can improve and the specific role they play in that process.
  • 2. Clear dedication and determination to identify, set, and achieve well-defined goals.
  • 3. The ability to leverage critical-thinking skills to anticipate challenges and strategic decision-making skills to take advantage of opportunities.
  • 4. A strong commitment to both social impact and market-based approaches.  


  • Startup teams may currently be in learning, training or (self-) employment. Applicants should already have a ground-breaking social impact and technology-driven idea, prototype, MVP or business model to propose to us. Your company does not have to be fully down the road of having a ready product, it can be at the very beginning – but a clear sense of value-addition and direction would need to be demonstrated. Skills in development and design and/ or familiarity with one or more frontier technology (such as Big Data, AI, DLT, IoT, VR/AR, etc.) would be an asset, depending on the business venture.
  • We believe in equitable access to opportunity, and in promoting talent – we want at least 50% of our cohort to be female, and we highly encourage persons with disability to apply.
  • Apply below to join our small group of relentless optimists trying to fix huge global problems. Only shortlisted startups will be contacted.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award:

  • Selected startups will work closely with us to design, develop, test, validate and scale innovative solutions and business ventures that can strengthen health, nutrition, education, social and child protection systems, impacting every child and young person in Ghana.
  • Over six months, the selected startups will collaborate daily with UNICEF specialists to gain unique market insight and knowledge, receive guidance and support, and establish a test environment for their products or solutions.
  • Entrepreneurs will also receive mentorship and a portfolio of business and leadership skills, through a dedicated entrepreneurship curriculum delivered by MEST Africa and AHIC.
  • Scalable solutions will gain further exposure through UNICEF’s large network of offices partners around the world, including access to seed funding opportunities.

How to Apply: To apply, please click the button below to complete the application form. If you would like to review the questions in advance, you may download a PDF version of the application here.



Visit Award Webpage for Details


  • Ifeoma Chuks is a naturally-skilled writer. She has written and contributed to more than 6000 articles all over the internet that have formed solid experiences for particularly aspiring, young people around the globe.

    Content Manager

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