The ASEAN Impact Challenge is a regional programme managed by Impact Hub Kuala Lumpur to discover innovators and entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia who are accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through cross-sector partnerships and disruptive tech innovations. Initiatives by participant teams have ranged from waste management, agriculture, microfinance, microbiology, improving livelihoods, alternative education, environment and construction.


According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the circular economy is a US$4.5 trillion business opportunity. It presents huge potential for global economic growth and will also accelerate society towards a sustainable future. Transitioning to the circular economy will catalyse the most transformational economic, social and environmental chnages since the First Industrial Revolution. Adopting a “circular mindset” captures new economic opportunities to future-proof your business.



Traditionally, challenge frameworks in the region have focused more on entrepreneurship instead of innovation, and its potential for impact and scalability of the same. The ASEAN Impact Challenge takes an alternative approach, focusing on the impact of the local innovations if they are successfully scaled across border and sectors. ​


The programme is aligned to the SDGs, with the theme of Circular Futures: Innovations for a Circular Economy. It provides a platform for innovations, businesses, and social purpose organisations to create partnerships that can further the achievement of a national, regional and global agenda for development.


Teams, communities, experts and key institutions will be part of the conversation on the impact of knowledge and experience sharing through the Global Goals Labs, which will form the backbone of the challenge – as a methodology to spark collaborations and accelerate innovations.


The Challenge is open to circular innovations with the potential to scale and is designed to encourage, empower and support partnerships and innovations that will create impact in the region. At the Regional Finals, 20 Finalist Teams from ASEAN countries with a proven innovation and impact model will be given the opportunity to pitch their revolutionary initiatives to a group of entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations.

StartImpact TRACK

Circular innovations with proposals, ideas, concepts and prototypes with the potential to deliver long-term solutions and impact on pressing community, social and environmental issues.

ScaleImpact Track

Proven Circular innovations with the potential and capacity to increase impact by expanding its beneficiary base. Been in operation a minimum of 2 years and has generated a minimum of USD 100,000 in revenue


8 AUG - 9 SEPT

Application Period

Attend our National Global Goals Mixers: one-day events to equip locals with knowledge on social innovation and how to design for social good. This also covers how the future of business can become a force for social good.

10 - 21 SEPT

Selection and Announcement of Finalist Teams

10 x StartImpact and 10 x ScaleImpact finalist teams will be selected by our panel of experienced judges from all over ASEAN.

22 SEPT -
30 NOV

Global Goals Labs

Commencement of Global Goals Labs 8-week acceleration programme for selected finalists teams from Start Impact Stage and Scale Impact Stage

30 OCT - 4 NOV

Regional Finals

Selected finalists ventures from StartImpact Stage and ScaleImpact Stage attend the regional finals in conjunction with the ASEAN Related Summits in Bangkok, Thailand to showcase their innovations to investors and other corporate organisations.


  • Tailored Capacity Building and Support Provided By Industry Mentors (local & regional)
  • Access To Strategic Partnerships in ASEAN and abroad.
  • Access To Finance For Growth; in the last 4 years, we’ve connected over USD5 million of capital to AIC finalists.
  • Regional and global visibility through our partners and networks which also include opportunities to pitch solutions in New York during The Global Goals week in addition to the ASEAN Summit and related events. 


Is your idea original and innovative? Does it belong to one of the circular economy themes? Does it solve an existing social or environmental challenge? Does it impact the communities in the region? Does it fill an existing gap in the region?

If the answer is yes to all above then your idea fits within the parameters of the challenge. If you need further clarification, reach out to us by emailing Vendula at or through our Facebook page

All team members must be over the age of 18. All team members must be able and willing to travel to Bangkok, Thailand for the Regional Finals. The travel period is between 30 October – 4 November 2019. All team members must be able to commit for the entire duration of the challenge.
Your team members do not have to be citizens of the same country but must reside in the same country. They do not have to be citizens of that country.

Yes, you can register yourself as an individual at the point of application. However this is a team challenge. We will give you time to get your team together. Kindly notify the organisers by 9 September 2019 on information of new members in your team. Notification can be made to Vendula at

Yes, your team can submit several ideas at the application process. However in interest of fairness to all other participating teams only 1 of your ideas may be selected to qualify for the Global Goals Labs and the regional challenge.

For early stage innovations, participant teams do not need to have an incorporated business in order to enter the competition. However, those wishing to participate in the scale stage category would need to have an incorporated business and have been operating for the last two years.

The organisers do not guarantee the confidentiality of proposals, however we will require judges to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Round 1 entries are featured on a public showcase webpage and finalist pitching is open to the public.

The total cost for flights and accommodation for the selected top 15 finalists will be covered by the programme. One (ScaleImpact) and two (StartImpact) finalist team members must be able and willing to travel to the Regional Finals in Thailand. The travel period is between 30 October – 4 November 2019. 

*For StartImpact teams, only those who are resident/Citizens of ASEAN countries and are 18 – 35 years old will have their travel costs covered by the programme. 

All travel should be from within ASEAN region.

Only finalist teams will be invited to the Global Goals Labs, which will be held in the ASEAN country you are based in. Teams that do not attend the Global Goals Labs will not be disqualified from the challenge. However, finalist teams will have to commit to doing the activities in the Global Goals Labs in order to accelerate their innovations.

Finalist teams will be notified by email by 21 September 2019. Announcements will also be made here on our website and on our social media pages.


Twitter: @impactasean


A Programme Managed By

WH-Kuala Lumpur-Up and Running-DG