Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Celebrates Young Innovators at World Series Of Innovation Recognition Event Held at The United Nations

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Young entrepreneurs participated in an online challenge to come up with ways to solve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

On August 2, 2017, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) held a recognition reception at the United Nations to acknowledge the young innovators who won NFTE’s World Series of Innovation challenge in April. NFTE’s World Series of Innovation challenge asked youth from around the world to apply their entrepreneurial mindsets to help solve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -- global goals that the United Nations has identified as the largest and most serious challenges to humanity -- and eleven teams of young innovators were recognized for their entrepreneurial ideas.

Shawn Osborne, President & CEO of NFTE, expressed his gratitude to NFTE partners, teachers, students, friends and UN representatives who gathered to celebrate the first-ever World Series of Innovation recognition event. He said, “We are proud to share the transformative nature of the NFTE experience that activates the entrepreneurial mindset in young people, the cornerstone of our program, because research shows that this mindset positively impacts the lives of young people. The World Series of Innovation, NFTE’s online program and competition, provides an experiential activity to allow young people, ages 13 to 24, to think creatively and create solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges. This year, almost 1,700 students from around the globe participated and submitted ideas. We are honored, along with our corporate partners, to mobilize more young people to find solutions to these global challenges.”

Video presentations of the winning finalists highlighted the evening. The World Series of Innovation was presented by The Moody’s Foundation with additional support from The Coca-Cola Company, GoDaddy, Mastercard and Pitney Bowes. Additional support for this event was provided by the UN Global Sustainability Index Institute Foundation.

Gus Harris, Executive Director, Moody’s Analytics, and a member NFTE’s Board of Directors, said, “NFTE helps students learn vital entrepreneurial skills including opportunity recognition, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication and collaboration. The World Series of Innovation resonates by giving participants the opportunity to use innovation to help find solutions to global goals. We are proud that by supporting the NFTE program, we can empower youth to develop life skills that anchor an entrepreneurial mindset, while giving them an opportunity to address noble and urgent causes that challenge the world.”

The 2016 World Series of Innovation consisted of six unique challenges (, and there were two winning student teams per category. Each winning team received $2,000 in cash and prizes, plus $500 for their school or youth serving organization. Runner-up teams received a prize of $250.

Ramu Damodaran, Chief, UN Academic Impact Secretariat, discussed the importance of the 2030 Agenda and its synchronicity with NFTE’s mission and programs. He commented, “Entrepreneurship is central to the realization of the United Nations agenda, in particular the Sustainable Development Goals. At the United Nations Academic Impact, we seek to foster intellectual entrepreneurship where fresh and innovative scholarship allow us to think local and act global, transferring the results of immediate and local research to the attainment of objectives that are truly global in scale.“

Megan Smith, 3rd U.S. Chief Technology Officer, inspired the audience with her perspective on innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and education. Ms. Smith commented that she was impressed by the way the UN joined the world’s collective voice together to support the Sustainable Development Goals and commit to this extraordinary agenda. The challenge to the young entrepreneurs, who showcased their ideas and solutions in their videos, proved that if young people find passion, they will be unstoppable.

The winners were:

Moody’s Good Jobs Challenge: Design a business that helps people get good jobs—jobs that pay enough and that are enjoyable for the people doing them. (SDG #8, Decent Work and Economic Growth)

  • Adjudicator Winner and People’s Choice Winner: Tie-In Project: a company that works to provide employment opportunities for minority youth by contracting students to lead social media projects for local businesses

Moody’s Quality Education Challenge: Design a business that brings high-quality education to more kids. (SDG #4, Quality Education)

  • Adjudicator Winner: Sunbook: A solar-powered LCD touch-screen book that works offline, promoted through a “get one give one” campaign similar to Tom’s shoes
  • People’s Choice Winner: Primos Project: A solar-powered printer that prints educational materials for people in rural communities

Coca-Cola Clean Water Challenge: Design a brand of bottled water that inspires people to protect and restore water-related ecosystems. (SDG #6, Clean Water and Sanitation)

  • Adjudicator Winner: Concilio Water: Water bottle connected to an online game―game triggers charitable donation for each water trivia question that a customer answers correctly
  • People’s Choice Winner: Current Water: Sustainable sourcing and bottling methods (paired with the opportunity for consumers to help select a charity that benefits from proceeds)

GoDaddy Internet Access Challenge: Design a business that helps provide developing countries access to the internet. (SDG #9, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure)

  • Adjudicator Winner: The Moose: Kinetically powered micro-modems inside sneakers
  • People’s Choice Winner: Dream-Fi: solar and battery powered internet drones transit signal to a tiny router in your shirt pocket

Pitney Bowes STEM Education Challenge: Design a product that helps kids or adults to explore real-world STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). (SDG #4, Quality Education)

  • Adjudicator Winner: ArchiPicture: an app leveraging augmented reality technology to display 3D images of objects at their actual size
  • People’s Choice Winner: NanoScience: an interactive app that teaches children and adults about nanoscience and its intersection with interests such as sports, biology, and fashion

Mastercard Refugee Challenge: Design a technology product or service that allows refugees to accept and deliver payments to help cover their most basic needs. (SDG #9, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure)

  • People’s Choice Winner: Refugee Pay: mobile wallet with the option for refugees to redeem rebates for necessities
  • Adjudicator Winner: ReThinking Refuge: A system that allows refugees to provide an ID based on a finger scan

Volunteers from sponsoring companies helped to select “Adjudicator’s Choice” winners.

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is an international nonprofit that activates the entrepreneurial mindset in young people and builds their knowledge about business startup. Students acquire the entrepreneurial mindset (e.g., innovation, self-reliance, comfort with risk), alongside business, STEM, and presentation skills—equipping them to drive their best futures in the 21st Century. NFTE focuses its work on under-resourced communities, with programs in 23 locations in 10 countries. To learn more, visit, like NFTE on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at @NFTE.

The Moody's Foundation
Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets.

Built on the recognition that a company grows stronger by helping others, The Moody's Foundation works to enhance its communities and the lives of its employees by providing grants and engaging in community service in local neighborhoods. The Moody's Foundation, established in 2002 by Moody's Corporation, partners with nonprofit organizations to support initiatives such as education in the fields of mathematics, finance, and economics, as well as workforce development, civic affairs, and arts and culture. For more information, please visit

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