NFTE World Series of Innovation, presented by Citi Foundation, invites youth to solve global challenges

In its tenth year, international online competition focuses on innovative ideas to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals

NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) today launched a new set of innovation challenges in the online entrepreneurship competition known as the World Series of Innovation (WSI). Presented by Citi Foundation, WSI asks young people to tap into their creativity to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations in response to the most critical issues facing humanity. Participants from all over the world, ages 13–24, compete by proposing innovative solutions to address the SDGs. The challenges offer participants an opportunity to win cash prizes for their ideas while helping to make a better world.

Young entrepreneurs can tackle any of nine unique innovation challenges focused on global problems such as climate change, gender discrimination, poverty, and limited education. One winner from each category will receive an $1,800 cash prize, while two runners-up will each receive $300. The $21,600 prize pool is contributed by challenge sponsors Citi Foundation, Assurant, Bank of the West, EY, Intuit, Mastercard, Moody’s Foundation, PayPal and Resonance Philanthropies.

“The World Series of Innovation encourages young people to apply the entrepreneurial mindset to address global challenges,” said Jim Johnston, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of NFTE. “Each year, we are inspired by the innovative ideas the next generation of entrepreneurs envisions. We are deeply grateful to Citi Foundation for supporting the expansion of the competition this year and thankful to our incredible list of challenge sponsors whose generosity makes the World Series of Innovation possible.”

This year’s WSI challenge categories are SDG #3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG #4 (Quality Education), SDG #5 (Gender Equality), SDG #7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG #9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG #10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG #13 (Climate Action), and SDG #16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

Thousands of young people around the globe participate in the World Series of Innovation every year. The competition has received entries from youth in 34 different countries, and winners demonstrate a broad range of creativity. First place entries from past challenges have ranged from floor tiles that convert kinetic energy into electricity (Kinetistep) to a vertical farming solution for urban aquaponics (CropUp) to a water-soluble, eco-friendly alternative to single use plastic shopping bags (Solupal).

“Citi Foundation is proud to partner with NFTE to give young entrepreneurs this platform to share their ideas and make their voices heard,” said Florencia Spangaro, Director of Programs, Citi Foundation “Innovation plays a critical role in addressing our most pressing global challenges, and the World Series of Innovation offers youth an invaluable opportunity to hone and apply their entrepreneurial thinking skills to real-world issues.”

Young competitors, educators and community groups can download WSI toolkits based on NFTE’s award-winning entrepreneurship curriculum that will assist in completing submissions. The community partners toolkit includes guidance on holding an “Innovation Day” coaching event to engage community volunteers as coaches to help young people competing in the World Series of Innovation explore the challenges and brainstorm about solutions.Teachers, coaches and parents can invite students to compete using an online nomination form.


Entries are due by 11 p.m. (EST) on December 16, 2019.

About NFTE 
NFTE is the leading educational nonprofit focused on teaching startup skills and activating the entrepreneurial mindset in young people from under-resourced communities. Research shows the entrepreneurial mindset—skills including initiative, self-reliance, adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration—leads to lifelong success. Equipped with the business and academic skills NFTE teaches and empowered by the entrepreneurial mindset, NFTE alumni are prepared to thrive. NFTE works with schools and community partners across the country through its nationwide network of program offices. Alliances with global youth development organizations bring NFTE programs to additional students internationally. NFTE reaches more than 100,000 young people annually and has served well over a million students since its founding. Learn more at

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 cities. 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

News Image

Innovation plays a critical role in addressing our most pressing global challenges, and the World Series of Innovation offers youth an invaluable opportunity to hone and apply their entrepreneurial thinking skills to real-world issues.