FAQ
Frequently asked questions
1. What is the YSI Innovation Program?
Online program: 4,5 months (dates for 2019 not set)

Live in Oslo, Norway: 2 weeks (dates for 2019 not set)

The aim is for you and your team to create a real startup that helps solve the sustainable development goals and are economically viable. Brilliant individuals are put in international teams of 3 people and will go through 4 modules and 8 objectives in five months. 4,5 months is online and the two last weeks are spent in Oslo, Norway, where you get a fully funded trip to meet your teammates, mentors and investors.

Our program provides knowledge and tools in innovation, sustainability, and leadership. We train the teams to operate their own startup after having created a fully fledged startup in 5 months. We provide close mentorship and follow-up through our innovation team, and access to the YSI network of talents, partners, and mentors. We also train teams to find the necessary information and help they need to create progress and impact. The program will be facilitated online, primarily using an education platform.

1. Team
- Understand, communication and trust
- Common vision, alignment, work style, expectations

2. Understand
- Triple research
- Defining problem, several types of needs
- Overview of the external context the startup operates within

3. Solution
- Ideation
- MVP-test/Market-validation with potential customers and users

4. Build
- Brand, website, marketing
- Legal and finance
- Customers and partners solidified
- Prototype and action plan
2. How do I apply?
The application process opens in January 2020 - with date pending, and you can apply through our website when the time comes. You apply as an individual, and you do not apply with ideas for a startup.

There are three application rounds in total followed by an interview round.
3. Who are we looking for?
"I don't want to start another company until I find a problem that I care about. A problem that I eat, sleep and breathe. A problem worth solving"
- Charlie Guo, Co-founder of FanHero


  • 16-28-year-old people
  • All countries are welcome to apply
  • People with 20-35 hours to use every week from April-August
  • Dedicated people with a real drive for solving complex problems
  • People who are willing to make time and wants to create a real startup
  • People with a proven track record of excellence in resilience, drive, and who are passionately able to use their skills and knowledge towards a project of any kind
  • Open minded people who are willing to understand different walks of life, see things in a new perspective, and with an intention of creating a positive impact
  • People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, and bold enough to actually do it
  • People who don't get discouraged by creating a startup remotely with new people from different continents
  • People who can make decisions and keep their cool under extreme uncertainty
See also 12. What is expected from YOU as a participant?
4. Can I apply if I am older than 28 or younger than 16?
No, unfortunately, the reason being that we have thousands of applicants and our age limit is strict, due to the number of applicants. But you are very welcome to join our community of Earthpreneurs, and hope we connect and create some action there!
5. What is the cost?
YSI programs are 100% free for all participants and includes a fully funded trip to Oslo (including flight, accommodation, and food). You will live in Oslo for two weeks in August 2019. It does, however, take a lot of time, and it's expected to use between 20 and 35 hours each week from April 2nd - August 26th.

YSI takes 5% ownership of your startup, and then functions as your partner, helping out with a large network, marketing, and problem-solving even after the program.

After the program, we follow up to ensure that your startup hits the ground running.
6. How are the teams chosen?
In the global program, we choose 8 teams with 3 people in each. These teams are built up based on their common interests (example, SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities), and their difference in skills, background, and personalities.
7. Why only 3 in the team?
A lot of research shows that in complex problem solving, 3-4 people is the best group size. At the same time, we chose 3, as it is an online program. The teams are allowed to expand their team from the YSI application pool, or other sources of talents, during the program. If a team needs a programmer or an engineer, they add the person to their team.
8. Are there any other opportunities in YSI?
YSI has expanded with three new innovation programs.

First is YSI Southeast Asia, located in Singapore (www.ysisea.com)

The second is YSI Bangladesh (for Bangladesh citizens - www.ysibd.com)

The third is YSI China (website coming)

We are in the development of creating more programs - so stay tuned!

Lastly, you can join our community Earthpreneurs on Facebook to come in touch with other like-minded individuals fighting for a sustainable world.
9. What will happen in Oslo?
A lot of hard work, cool events, and new friendships created. You will work closely with your own team, get inspired by incredible speakers, and learn from awesome mentors. We will run various parties and events, such as a culture night, and the Earthpreneurs conference to end it all! You will work on your prototype, action plans, future plans, pitch deck (presentation), and your business model. Simply put, whatever you need at the time to be ready for investment, and to continue creating real impact in the aftermath with your company.
10. How did it go with last years participants?
Check out our ongoing startups from the Global program: www.ysiglobal.com/startups

11. Who are the YSI team members?
You can see some of us at https://ysiglobal.com/team

In short, we are a group of young entrepreneurs, innovators, changemakers, and students from different places in the world. Our headquarter is based in Oslo, Norway but we also have other programs with headquarters in Singapore, Bangladesh, and China.

We believe in a sustainable future, and we believe that our efforts can help speed up the process of getting there.

12. What is expected from YOU as a participant?
We think it's important to note that we have thousands of applicants from all countries in the world. We are looking for the best talents between 16 and 28 years, who can bring about real change. This is why we expect people who want to fully commit to the program, and keep building a startup they can take pride in both during and after the program.

People who are in the program online, not giving their best, will not be traveling to Oslo in August. We also expect honesty, resilience, and open-minded people on board in YSI. We expect open communication, over-delivery, and to have fun. We also fully expect this of ourselves, and we focus on being very rapid in our response to cover your needs while working through the program.

Finally, this is a cooperative program, meaning that all participants are smart people wanting to work towards a similar vision but in different ways and areas of interest. We expect you to have a desire to help your fellow participants as best you can. Of course we will have some internal competition to keep things interesting, but we intend to help every one of you get the best from each other, as all 25 people have their own unique competence and experience, and it would be a shame not to help each other succeed by using that across teams.

13. Curriculum and authors (program based on)
Our program is based on the works of several different authors from various fields of expertise. As an example, we look into methods such as Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Agile and Jobs-to-be-done, who has been pioneered by authors such as Steve Blank, Eric Ries, Ash Maurya and Tony Ulwick.

Our curriculum is currently being updated and revised with some changes to our content and the way it is presented. As follows, this answer will be updated consecutively.
14. What do you get? (Benefits)
1. World class innovation team.
2. Education in entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, team management, project management, leadership, personal development, how to set up a business, economics, and much more.
3. You can apply for grants up to 5000$ to your YSI Startup, from YSI (24 hours reply). This can be used for example to do rapid prototyping and testing for the startup.
4. A fully funded trip to Oslo, Norway in August 2019.
5. Access to our learning platform created on www.novoed.com, libraries filled with knowledge and methods.
6. Access to our network and partners.
7. Access to our vast network of Earthpreneurs around the globe.

You will get new friends for life, meet the best people under 28 years out of thousands of applicants, and much more. We look forward to reading your application!
15. Can I apply to more than one YSI program?
Yes, you can apply to both the global and a local/regional program. If you accept a spot in one of the programs, your application will automatically be dropped from the other one (e.g. if you accept your spot in the YSI SEA program, your application to the YSI Global program will be dropped)
16. Can I apply even though I have applied before?
Yes. If you've applied before and not gotten in, we strongly encourage you to apply again. Having made progress since your last application is a strong signal to us.
17. What is the corporate relationship teams? (YARA International)
In 2019, for the first time, we have a corporate joining forces with two of the teams (out of 8 in total). For the 2019 program we will have two spots working on Digital Farming (DF) and Food Value Chains (FVC). To be part of either of these teams you need to click on the option in the application process, and you will then create a startup from scratch in the area you get chosen for.

You can read more here.
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