Youth SDGs LabZ (SustainathonZ)

SustainathonZ to empower youth identify and find innovative solutions for business sustainability issues most critical to achieve the SDGs

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Sustainable Mindz

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 500 - 1,000

Organization type

  • For-profit

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • United Arab Emerates

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

UAE: Dubai, Sharjah


Twitter URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Based on a call out, youth in the UAE apply and teams are selected based on a pre-selection criteria. The teams come in for a 3 days of facilitated process of COCREATION INNOVATION and BREAKING THE RULES, supported by mentors to explore real-life challenges within pre-determined themes from multiple angles, to come up with preliminary solutions for the achievement of the SDGs. . These are tested with leading experts and company partners, then refined, and ultimately presented to a panel of judges. Winning ideas to be supported towards becoming viable business opportunities through ongoing support, and a venture fund setup which can ensure financial backing of transformative and viable ideas. The winning ideas can both be for profit and non-profit and will further be presented to investors in a Dragons’ Den format.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

A sponsored pilot project was launched in partnership with 7 universities and 1 business accelerator from both Dubai and Sharjah during Q4 2017. prior to the SustainathonZ, we conducted sessions with universities to raise awareness on the SDGs and their application within businesses. 500 students attended the sessions. 48 students formed 12 teams, mentored by industry experts representing 5 companies from different industries. This SustainathonZ' specific themes were: water conservation, sustainable packaging and food waste. It looked at unleashing the power of youth to lead now and not wait till tomorrow, and providing a platform from which young women and men can become trailblazers and drivers of change. Here, they come together to cocreate and innovate and most importantly to assert their role and take responsibility for a world they will soon inherit.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

At the moment it is financed by corporate contributions in which the SustainathonZ can be tailored and based on the sustainability challenges and SDGs alignment of a specific organisation or sector. Individual donations or gifts: 10% in kind contribution (venue, catering, etc.) Grants: 30% Corporate Contributions: 60% Financial sustainability: the financial sustainability will be insured by diversifying the SustainathonZ model and the target audience as follows: 1. from corporate by creating SustainathonZ that are customized for them 2. from sponsorship for SustainathonZ customized or created for a university/school 3. from sponsorships or grants for open SustainathonZ (open competition)

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Though similar models are existing globally, a model of this kind has not been introduced in the UAE before. the value that SustainathonZ is bringing is creating shared value for both youth and businesses by creating a workforce that supports the transition into a sustainable economy and the achievement of the SDGs. , through integrating sustainability into their learning process and skill building. Businesses are also benefiting from receiving innovative solutions and out of the box thinking.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Sustainable Mindz team has been engaging with universities and students over several years in raising awareness on CSR and sustainability issues. Through observation we realized that CSR and sustainability taught in universities is still very academically oriented. this is when we identified this gap and decided to create a model that will result in higher engagement of youth in sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

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