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How Young Entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific Respond to COVID-19

One year on from the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Youth Co:Lab – co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation – conducted research to assess how youth-led enterprises in Asia-Pacific were impacted by the first year of the pandemic and how they responded.

The results, presented in this report, reveal how 92 percent of businesses surveyed were negatively impacted by the shock waves of the crisis: from lockdowns and collapsing demand, to broken supply chains and a credit crunch.

At the same time, the report provides evidence of the agility and resilience of youth entrepreneurs in the face of threats to their survival. 87 percent pivoted their business strategy, while 86 percent employed innovation – from launching new products and services, to transforming their operating models.

Finally, the report provides new evidence of the significant contribution that young entrepreneurs across Asia-Pacific have made to COVID-19 recovery. The report showcases over 40 innovative youth-led solutions developed to address challenges brought on by the pandemic and build forward better.

UNDP and Citi Foundation hope that the findings of this report will serve to galvanize actions by governments, the private sector, civil society, and development partners across Asia-Pacific to step up support for young entrepreneurs and help them lead the way in the journey through recovery and beyond.