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World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge – Youth Aquapreneurs 2024

Water Solutions for a New Climate Reality is a global program that aims to accelerate innovation and unlock the potential of youth aquapreneurs worldwide. The World Bank and its partners invite all eligible youth aquapreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 to apply by February 23, 2024, with innovative solutions that address one or more of four global water challenges: too much water, too little water, contaminated water, and mismanaged water.

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Participants in the World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge will have the opportunity to build critical entrepreneurial skills in business plan development, prototyping, customer segmentation, sales, financing, marketing, fundraising, and sustainability with support from corporate partners like Microsoft, Xylem, and other learning partners such as YBI, YMCA, and other water tech companies. They will also be invited to join the Microsoft Founders Hub, which offers free access to technology tools, resources, and coaching to build solutions.

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In addition, participants will have the chance to improve their business plans and pitch scalable solutions to water tech CEOs, VCs, and other impact investors. They will receive market feedback from water and sanitation utilities, irrigation operators, and other end users worldwide. They will also network with a global community of successful entrepreneurs, water experts, investors, and other innovators, and access a 6-month accelerator program that provides one-on-one mentoring by successful Water tech CEOs (winners only).

To be eligible for the challenge, applicants must be between 18-34 years of age at the time of registration 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, they should select 1-5 members 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 that is intended to serve or is serving customers in at least one low- or middle-income country, as specified in the list of countries above. The team must address one or more of the four tracks and challenges: too much water, too little water, contaminated water, and mismanaged water. Each team may enter only once, and teams that enter more than once will not be considered.

The World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge will be adjudicated by a panel of water specialists based on the relevance to water challenges outlined in the four tracks, innovation, feasibility, impact, and measurement of progress. The application deadline is February 23, 2024, and interested and qualified participants can apply on Eventbrite.

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