The Accelerator Fund 2023 is designed to empower and support future leaders who are making waves in the area of sustainable development. We understand the unique challenges specifically young changemakers in the global south are facing regarding the evident lack of funding, and we are here to provide the resources and support they need to drive positive change. The Accelerator Fund is a joint program between the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the Ban Ki-moon Foundation, New York. Stay tuned to find out more as our program develops.

Through multiple seed funds the program will accelerate selected projects that are in accordance with specific baseline criteria. These meaningful criteria were designed by a group of young changemakers who form the Accelerator Fund Review Committee. Below we are happy to share several testimonials from our young changemakers who worked diligently for the Review Committee:

Yusuke Sakai

Question: What do you expect to get out of this experience as a member of the Review Committee and how do you think you can profit from peer to peer exchange? 

I hope to use this time as a Review Committee member to exchange views and cultural differences with peer members, do some research and stakeholder feedback sessions to better understand how we can provide fair and empowering fund allocation strategies, criteria and processes, mainly for young grassroots SDG articulators. Trying to understand together how we can differentiate as fund providers, how to be complementary with other efforts already taking place, avoid colonization bias, and provide a selection process where our future applicants can feel more proud and encouraged to reach more through their projects and initiatives. Besides, I’m looking forward to learning from other peers and applicants about our cultural and geographical differences and challenges for SDG implementation, acquiring soft skills and finding further engagement opportunities on SDG financing and governance!

Zaliha Lawal

Question: In your opinion, what is the significant value of the Accelerator Fund and why are funds like this so urgently needed in the present world? 

“Funds such as the Accelerator Fund are essential for the attainment of the Global Goals. These funds serve as vital resources for startups and small and medium businesses, especially in the Global South, where we have various issues affecting people and the planet. Providing startups and small and medium businesses with the necessary financial support, mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to a wide range of resources to help them scale and grow is crucial for development. Small concerted efforts are what we need to accelerate and attain the SDGs, ensuring collective efforts and leaving no one is left behind.”

Tugsjargal Erdenebaatar

Question: What were your highlights and learnings from the first Accelerator Fund Review Committee on the 27th September? 

“The BKMC provided us a refreshing platform to contribute to the Accelerator Fund’s selection committee, truly encouraging continuous alumni engagement and enhancing our commitment towards SDGs. The collaborative approach during the first roundtable discussion for criteria development recognizes that understanding the unique perspective of young change-makers like us is key to empowering SDGs initiatives. As a committee member, this process has strengthened my dedication and provided meaningful involvement with peers from around the world. It’s inspiring to see our shared passion and dedication uniting us to reach more emerging leaders. During the roundtable, each member shared practical insights with the guidance of the BKMC team, deepening our understanding of the relevance of each criteria. This experience has broadened our horizons, making me realize how similar we are, regardless of where we come from. I am truly excited to see the ‘Accelerator Fund’ making a positive impact on emerging young leaders and advancing the SDGs initiatives worldwide.”

Alhassan Muniru

Question: How was your previous experience with the Ban Ki-moon Centre Network and what urged you to collaborate with them again? 

“My engagement with the Ban Ki-moon Centre Network dates to 2018 when I was selected as part of the 1st cohort of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizen Scholars.  This enabled me to attend the European Forum Alpbach where I had the unique opportunity to present our SDG micro-project to the board. The network and exposure propelled us to successfully launch and scale our project where we support young changemakers to co-create local solutions to local problems with people, planet, and prosperity at the core of their solutions. The shared vision with the Centre to support Global Citizen Leaders to implement the SDGs strongly aligns with my principles and that has sustained my interest in collaborating with the Centre and to support with the implementation of the Accelerator Fund.”

Kelly Quispe Flores

Question: Why is a democratic selection process for awarding such funds as with the Acc Fund so important and what is the significance of doing it “by peers for peers”? 

“By involving youth in this democratic process of criteria building and strategic development opportunities through funds, BKMC empowers youth to realize their fullest potentials by amplifying their voices, experiences and most importantly, revalidating their expertise on becoming not passive actors but protagonists of the challenges we are facing today and how if affects them. The relevance to do it “by peers for peers” is to deconstruct the structural vision that knowledge is only focused on adults. Youth are not a step below, their influence and representativeness shape process and with them we can co-create meaningful synergies to have a profound impact in society.”