BOOST is a regional acceleration program for social impact innovators in Europe and Central Asia
BOOST, powered by UNDP, harnesses innovation for development by reimagining our future and nurturing a community of innovators in the region. BOOST innovators are spearheading change for millions of people–from improving air quality and forecasting floods, to creating e-learning classes for children and upskilling platforms for women.
BOOST is rooted in UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2022-25, which aims to support governments and communities to rebound from COVID-19 and build forward better. Together with our growing network of changemakers and partners across the region, we are working towards building resilience and igniting structural transformation, making sure that no one is left behind. To do this, we boost innovative ideas that are strategic and embrace digitalization, and mobilize funds for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
BOOST engages a wide range of public and private, local and international partners to co-design and jointly launch open calls for innovations that tackle specific development challenges related to inequality and poverty, governance, energy, environment, resilience and gender equality. Our calls and programs are open to private sector entities, non-profits and academic institutions.
From each call, we select a group of innovators to take part in the BOOST acceleration program (see Program) that incubates and accelerates innovations. We collaborate with our partners on crafting trainings and mentorship and tailoring them to the needs of the participants. During the program, the selected participants follow a series of modules that help them develop and scale their innovations.
At the end of the program, participants showcase their innovations during our BOOST Demo Day. Together with our partners, we then select and award monetary grants to the most promising innovations, to enable further scaling and sustainability.
We are on a mission to end poverty and to build the world envisioned by the 2030 Agenda – and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – with planet and people in balance.
INNOVATION FOR TRANSFORMATION
We foster innovation and creativity to help change systems and tackle the challenges standing between us and the SDGs. There is an untapped potential in changemakers and innovators across our region; we work to create enabling ecosystems for those with big ideas – and boost their work.
Today’s development challenges are dynamic, interconnected puzzles of multidimensional risk – with an action in one area affecting another. We look for interconnections within our cohorts of innovators, assess what is emerging, listen to understand the context, and continuously adapt to enable structural transformation.
No one organization, sector, or industry can solve the development challenges we face today alone. We partner to advocate for, and facilitate, regional cooperation around common challenges, harnessing the power of collective effort and intelligence.
Technology, including digitalization, should address economic, cultural, and social barriers to create opportunities for all. We support entrepreneurs and organizations to leverage digital technologies to scale up their businesses and ensure no one is left behind in the process.
As part of its socioeconomic response to COVID-19, UNDP Europe and Central Asia launched BOOST in 2020 to help societies look beyond recovery. BOOST has now expanded its scope to tackle issues beyond the pandemic. With a presence in 170 countries and territories globally, and 19 in the region of Europe and Central Asia, UNDP brings together public and private partners committed to addressing our most pressing development challenges by directly supporting innovators and changemakers.
In the first year of operations, BOOST mobilized funds from private sector actors, development partners and international financial institutions, amounting to over USD $300,000 in equity free grants, and helped one innovator raise nearly US$100,000 in an online crowdfunding campaign.
For our first BOOST edition, we partnered with the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, Koç Holding, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland to launch three open calls in the areas of digitalization, wellbeing and low-touch economies to boost COVID-19 recovery. Read about our impact.