How do we create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world? How do we speed recovery from the economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19? The young people competing in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) World Series of Innovation this fall have some big ideas about that and so do the leading global companies sponsoring the nine innovation challenges that launched last week.
Now entering its eleventh year, the NFTE World Series of Innovation, presented by Citi Foundation, has grown into a global online competition that attracts thousands of young people from dozens of countries, helping them learn more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while developing entrepreneurial skills such as opportunity recognition, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Teams competing in this challenge cycle are being asked to come up with innovative ideas for products, services, policies, or initiatives that could advance one or more of the UN SDGs. The prize pool totals $21,600 and nine different challenges are being offered:
- Bank of the West Clean Energy Challenge, SDG 7: empower school communities to help speed the transition to clean energy.
- Citi Foundation COVID Recovery Challenge, SDG 10: help grow the income of those hit hardest by the COVID-19 economic crisis: the lowest-earning workers.
- EY Educational Equity Challenge, SDG 4: help drive racial equity across education. Solutions could range from making equity a focus to dismantling barriers such as the digital divide.
- Mary Kay Textiles Upcycle Challenge, SDG 12: create a “circular economy” that reduces waste by promoting clothing and textile reuse or repurposing.
- Mastercard Gateway for the Unbanked Challenge, SDG 9: help the unbanked make and receive payments, providing a gateway to improved financial access.
- Moody’s Foundation Climate Action Challenge, SDG 13: empower individuals or communities to take action on the problem of climate change.
- Moody’s Foundation Peace & Justice Challenge, SDG 16: promote progress on equal justice and create stronger institutions for all.
- PayPal Environmental Justice Challenge, SDG 1: build the resiliency of vulnerable communities most at risk from impacts of climate change and other disasters.
- PIMCO Zero Hunger Challenge, SDG 2: help food banks increase access to healthy food by reducing waste, improving mobility, or creating more equitable food systems.
“Providing young entrepreneurs a platform that elevates their ideas and voices is essential,” says Florencia Spangaro, Director of Programs at the Citi Foundation. “We are proud to continue partnering with NFTE as part of the global Pathways to Progress initiative, enabling young people to develop their entrepreneurial skill sets and create solutions that generate positive impact in their communities.”
NFTE president and CEO, Dr. J.D. LaRock, adds, “In these uncertain times, more young people are embracing entrepreneurship as way to take ownership of their futures. Competitions such as the NFTE World Series of Innovation not only provide opportunities for learners to develop their entrepreneurial mindset, but also to see how their passions for social and environmental justice can drive innovation. That’s empowering for young people. It’s also inspiring for us. We are seeing an emerging generation of impact entrepreneurs.”
The World Series of Innovation challenges are open to youth who are at least 13 years old but not more than 24 years old as of December 31, 2020. The submission period is open, and entries can be submitted now through 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 14, 2020. Prizes will be awarded in 2021. For full details on the challenges, sponsors and prizes, visit innovation.nfte.com.
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) ignites the entrepreneurial mindset with unique learning experiences that empower all students to own their futures. Research shows the entrepreneurial mindset—a set of skills including initiative, self-reliance, adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration—leads to lifelong success. Empowered by the entrepreneurial mindset and equipped with the business and academic skills NFTE teaches, program alumni are prepared to thrive. NFTE works with schools and community partners across the U.S. and alliances with global youth development organizations bring NFTE programs to additional young people in ten countries around the world. NFTE has served well over a million students since its founding. Learn more at nfte.com.
About Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit citifoundation.com.