World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge

Deadline Date: February 23, 2024

 Donor Name: World Bank Group

Grant Size: Not Available

Calling on Aquapreneurs to Join the World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge!

The World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge: Water Solutions for a New Climate Reality is designed to accelerate innovation and unlock the potential of the next generation of youth aquapreneurs from around the world.

Participants entering the World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge will:

  • Build critical entrepreneurial skills in business plan development, prototyping, customer segmentation, sales, financing, marketing, fundraising, and sustainability with support from the Corporate partners like Microsoft, Xylem and other learning partners like YBI, YMCA and other water tech companies.
  • Be invited to join the Microsoft Founders Hub offering the opportunity to gain free access to technology tools, resources and coaching to build solutions.
  • Improve business plan and pitch scalable solutions to water tech CEOs, VCs, and other impact investors
  • Receive market feedback from water and sanitation utilities, irrigation operators, and other end users worldwide.
  • Network with a global community of successful entrepreneurs, water experts, investors and other innovators
  • Access a 6-month Accelerator Program that provides one on one mentoring by successful Water tech CEOs (winners only)

The World Bank and partners invite all interested and eligible youth aquapreneurs (age 18-35) to apply, with innovative solutions tackling one or more of four global water challenges:

  • Too much water
  • Too little water
  • Contaminated water
  • Mismanaged water

The Challenge launched at CoP28 on December 8th, 2024, and will run through October 2024. It is a joint initiative of the World Bank’s Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) and Water Global Practice’s Utility of the Future Program who are joined by innovative partners including:

  • CEO Champions from Water-Tech Companies: 3R Water, Acquacycl, Pani Energy, CANN Forecast, Desolenator, Kai Pono Solutions, Kilimo, Nitrogen Sensing Solutions, Oneka, Permalution, Xylem
  • Outreach and Learning Partners: Mazarine Ventures, Microsoft Philanthropies, Ripple2Wave, Sustainable Oceans Alliance, Youth Business International, World YMCA

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to participate, you must be:

  • Between 18-34 years of age at the time of registration (i.e., as of December 8, 2023), and citizens of low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank. The challenge is open to students, entrepreneurs, technologists, and other engaged citizens.
  • Individuals may form teams and submit entries on behalf of the team. Each team can list between 1-5 members who will be available to participate in the events associated with the challenge. If the team is from an existing venture with more members, please select 1-5 to participate fully in this initiative. All team members need to fit the age criteria.
  • The team should either be working toward a minimum viable product, or have a minimum viable product which is intended to serve or serving customers in at least one low- or middle-income country.
  • Each team may enter only once. Teams that enter more than once will not be considered.
  • The 1-5 young innovators listed in the team should be willing and able to participate in virtual bootcamps, workshops, mentoring and networking sessions, led by industry experts. These sessions will be held online thus, participants must have access to a stable internet connection.
  • All sessions will be held in English thus, participants must be able to participate in and pitch their idea in English.

For more information, visit World Bank Group.

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