Bangkok, 12 June 2020 – Young people will need to be a key part of the COVID-19 recovery journey in Asia-Pacific, particularly social entrepreneurs. However, navigating corruption and fraud in already weakened economies will make that a difficult journey. To help them, two regional initiatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have developed a Business Integrity Toolkit for Young Entrepreneurs

On Monday 15 June 2020, the UNDP’s Fair Biz and Youth Co:Lab, a project co-led by the Citi Foundation and UNDP will launch the Business Integrity Toolkit for Young Entrepreneurs. The Toolkit walks young entrepreneurs through the challenges and costs of corruption. It offers practical steps and resources on how to create and ensure business integrity. In the coming months, it will be used to develop further tools and opportunities to support young people in this complicated time.

Asia-Pacific is home to over 700 million young people, half of whom are unemployed. Starting a business is one way to build a livelihood and create jobs for others in the process. Asia has one of the highest rates young people setting up a business in the world, and 40 percent employ other people.

Corruption and fraud are a great challenge for young entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific. Bribes are costly and know how to circumvent red tape is a skill learned with time.

The UNDP works with countries to address causes of and implement projects to counter corruption. Here too young people are the key to create long-term, sustainable change.

Young people understand the cost of corruption and fraud fully. A 2014 survey led by World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, showed that 72 percent of millennials – defined as young people aged between 18 and 34 – believe corruption is holding back their country, while 72 percent thinks it is causing lost opportunities for their generation.

This reality has been made more devastating by the COVID-19 crisis. Young people are among the hardest hit. In March 2020, Youth Co:Lab surveyed 410 young social entrepreneurs across 18 countries in Asia-Pacific. Nine out of ten reported that COVID-19 had negatively impacted their business. Only 9.5 percent reported that their business had received a tax break, loan, grant, subsidy, or other forms of support.

“The reality is that the Sustainable Development Goals are unlikely to be attained without also substantially reducing corruption and bribery in all their forms. Across Asia and the Pacific, young entrepreneurs are setting up their businesses for the first time, and we owe it to them to offer a level playing field and a fair business environment that unequivocally rewards hard work and ingenuity,” said Valerie Cliff, UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

As part of the launch, a webinar, Leading with Integrity, will be organised on 18 June 2020 from 1-2:15 pm Bangkok time.  

Young entrepreneurs, and young people overall, need to be an integral part building back the economies and societies of Asia-Pacific after COVID-19. This Toolkit gives them a guide to do so in a way that ensures we build back better.


Media contacts:

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: 

Marte Hellema, or +66(0)999 46 1108


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UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated,

lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at or follow at @UNDP.

Promoting a Fair Business Environment in ASEAN (Fair Biz) is a multiyear project implemented by the UNDP in cooperation with the UK government to promote fair, transparent and predictable business environments by working with both governments and the private sector, with particular focus on Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Co-created in 2017 by the UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims 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 SDGs through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.

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