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Would you like to make a difference in your community? Are you passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals? Join the next UNLEASH Innovation Lab in Rwanda, a thriving start-up hub on the African continent.

The UNLEASH Innovation Lab in Rwanda will take place from December 2 to December 8, and changemakers aged between 18-35 will have the opportunity to apply for this transformative (and fully-funded!) experience until July 19.

The Innovation Process

During the Lab, 1,000 young participants from all over the world will come up with new ideas and co-create innovative initiatives through human-centered design thinking – a process that focuses on the real needs of the people that the solution caters to. Experienced facilitators and experts will guide the participants through different stages of the innovation process:

Problem Framing: Defining a problem based on user needs and clear insights

Ideation: Brainstorming and selecting ideas to solve the problem

Prototyping: Creating simple versions of the idea to understand how it will work in real life

Testing: Testing the solution with users, learning, and adapting

Implementing: Planning and launching impactful solutions

Who can apply?

The Innovation Lab in Rwanda is open to young people between the ages of 18 and 35. We select participants that are:bulletpoint_arrow1

  • Passionate and committed to solving the world’s sustainability challenges
  • Creative and have an innovative mindset
  • Enthusiastic about working together with peers and experts
  • Able to understand and communicate in English

Talents are selected based on the following criteria.

  1. Demonstrated passion and commitment to solving the world’s pressing challenges.
  2. Possession of a creative and innovative mindset.
  3. Willingness to engage in co-creation with peers and experts.
  4. Resilience and ability to overcome failure.
  5. Basic proficiency in English with the ability to understand instructions.

The UNLEASH Innovation Lab is not an accelerator for existing ideas, but rather a place for new ideas and collaboration. UNLEASH seeks to identify applicants that are willing to work with others to , based on clear problems. As such, applicants will not qualify for UNLEASH if they:

  • Are not willing to work on completely new ideas or challenge their existing idea significantly through collaboration with other participants
  • Launched their current idea in an entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial capacity that they are working on full-time, and intend to only use UNLEASH to further this
  • Have generated revenue (e.g., from customers, users) or raised funding (e.g., from grants, investors) for their current/newest idea, and intend to use UNLEASH to work on this idea
  • Have multiple full-time paid employees working on their current/newest idea

Please note that we do also have an incubation program, UNLEASH Plus, which does look for Teams with existing solutions, and supports them with the resources and network to advance these solutions during its 6-month program.

Accelerate impact

At UNLEASH, we believe that collaboration is key to driving sustainable development. We are excited to forge partnerships with organizations, businesses, and institutions who share our vision and want to make a tangible impact.

By partnering with UNLEASH, you have the opportunity to connect with a diverse network of changemakers and contribute to the development of innovative solutions for the SDGs.

Why should I apply?

Anecdotal feedback from previous participants in UNLEASH Innovation Labs shows that for many of them, their participation is a life-changing event that connects them with the experience, skills, and networks which shape their lives and careers for many years to come.

  • Learn and apply UNLEASH Innovation Methodology to co-create innovative initiatives using human-centered design thinking.
  • Immerse yourself in a week-long program in Kigali, Rwanda, a leading innovation and tech hub in Africa
  • Connect and engage with a diverse community of hundreds of young people, experienced facilitators, and experts who share a mutual passion for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Become part of a global network of thousands of UNLEASH Alumni, fostering ongoing collaboration and support.

Who will cover the costs?

UNLEASH will cover the costs of international flight travel to and from Kigali, local transport in Kigali, accommodation, food, curriculum, facilitation, and program activities for the entire event.

As a general rule, all Talents must pay a participation fee of 150 USD to confirm their spot at the UNLEASH Innovation Lab. This fee mitigates no-shows and ensures that we do not have empty seats where other Talents could have had the opportunity to participate.

Talents have the option of applying for a scholarship. If you receive a scholarship, you do not have to pay the participation fee. The scholarship is meant for individuals who are unable to attend the Innovation Lab without scholarship support. *

In the scholarship application you will be asked to fill in information surrounding your economic situation including if you are supporting family members, employed, unemployed etc. Scholarship applications will be assessed once you are accepted into the UNLEASH program.


Applications to participate in the UNLEASH Innovation Lab will be open for a period of 3 weeks, starting from Wednesday June 28 . Applications close on Wednesday July 19 at 11.59 PM GMT.

Make your application here!

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