2018 UN World Series of Innovation Event Explores Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Future of Work

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2018, NFTE hosted an event last night at the United Nations celebrating NFTE’s World Series of Innovation (WSI), a global competition where young entrepreneurs, ages 13 to 24, tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the top of the evening, guests were able to mingle and speak with current competitors of the World Series of Innovation and ask them about their innovative ideas.

The evening event, presented by Moody’s Corporation with support from Ernst & Young LLP (EY), honored current young competitors and featured both past and present sponsors of World Series of Innovation challenges. NFTE President and CEO Shawn K. Osborne, opened the evening remarking, “We care about making a difference in the life of every individual NFTE student, but we’re also impacting economies at a large scale. We’re activating the entrepreneurial mindset of an entire generation – and that simply would not be possible without the significant contributions of organizations such as those we recognized last night at the UN, including Moody’s and EY as well as Citi, Coca-Cola Company, Mastercard, SAP, Resonance Philanthropies, and GoDaddy. These organizations have sponsored challenges in NFTE’s World Series of Innovation and we’re deeply grateful for their support.”

Next, the audience had a chance to hear from 18-year-old college freshman Uyen Tran, a NFTE alum and graduate of Oak Grove High School in San Jose, CA. Tran led both the teams she captained to victory in last year’s World Series of Innovation, winning two different Moody’s Analytics sponsored challenges with their submissions of Enertree and CropUp. “Participating in the WSI definitely allowed me to incorporate a more creative sense of thinking with the things I do,” Tran said. “Creating submissions for the challenges was an eye-opening experience that enabled me to see the problems we face in our world. It not only made me gain a better understanding in the entrepreneurial mindset, but it also pushed me into wanting to make a difference towards the things around me. More than I did before, I want to be able to utilize the skills that I have to make a change in our world.”

The highlight of the evening was a panel discussion on the role entrepreneurship plays in driving social impact and preparing a new generation for the future of work. Distinguished panelists included, moderator, Mark Zandi, Chief Economist, Moody’s Analytics, Lauren Andersen, Executive Director, NYC Tech Talent Pipeline, Office of the Mayor, City of New York, Herb Engert, New York Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, Vincius Pinhero, Special Representative to the United Nations and Director, International Labor Organization and Jason Saul, Chief Executive Officer, Mission Measurement.

Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics and moderator opened the panel discussion by summing up the importance of empowering the entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow. “Entrepreneurship powers innovation, productivity growth, and economic growth. Activating the entrepreneurial mindset in our youth is thus critically important to the global economy’s success.”

Other key takeaways from the discussion was the importance around soft skills, the types of non-cognitive skills employers identify as increasingly valuable: critical thinking, creativity, flexibility, self-reliance, ability to collaborate and communicate, to recognize opportunity and overcome setbacks, and to be comfortable taking calculated risks

To round out the evening, Mike Kacsmar, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, and member of NFTE’s Board of Directors introduced the new research on youth entrepreneurship education. The research brief, “Supporting the Next Generation: The Entrepreneurial Mindset and the Future of Work” was developed jointly by EY and NFTE and was officially released last night. It looks at the impact of the youth entrepreneurship education within the broader context of innovation, technological advances, industry disruption, and the future of work.

The joint research establishes key findings based in part on results from NFTE’s Entrepreneurial Mindset Index (EMI), an assessment tool developed with support from EY. The EMI was designed specifically to measure attitudes and behaviors associated with being an entrepreneur. NFTE research draws on student outcomes data and entrepreneurial mindset growth data NFTE has collected through pre- and post- assessment of thousands of students at hundreds of schools across the U.S.

“What’s particularly exciting about the emerging research on youth entrepreneurship is the correlation it establishes between the entrepreneurial mindset and academic and career success,” said Osborne, referring to the research brief developed jointly with EY and NFTE’s latest technical paper on the EMI.

Kacsmar, agreed. “We are proud of our strategic collaboration with NFTE. The EMI is an innovative tool for measuring entrepreneurial mindset that allows for compelling research, and we believe our collaborative exploration of youth entrepreneurship attitudes and outcomes sheds light on how we can prepare youth for the rapidly changing future of work. We need the next generation to think creatively, to start businesses, to be prepared to adapt and flex. Developing the entrepreneurial mindset will help our young people to embrace an uncertain future.”

NFTE would like to thank Moody’s Corporation and EY for making this exciting evening of shared ideas and connection possible.