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 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. 

The World Bank and partners invite all interested and eligible youth aquapreneurs (age 18-35) to apply by February 23, 2024, 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, NatureDots. Permalution, Xylem
  • Outreach and Learning Partners: Mazarine Ventures, Microsoft Philanthropies, Ripple2Wave, Sustainable Oceans Alliance, Youth Business International, World YMCA 

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, as specified in the list of countries above.
  • The team must address one or more of the following four tracks and challenges:
    • Too much water: The challenge of too much water includes issues such as flooding, sea level rise, coastal erosion, and ocean acidification.
    • Too little water: The challenge of too little water refers to water scarcity, lack of access to water and sanitation services, drought and associated food and agriculture challenges.
    • Contaminated Water: The challenge of too polluted water entails issues such as contaminated drinking water with microplastics, forever chemicals or other toxins, and the public health challenges these pose.
    • Mismanaged Water: The challenge of mismanaged water includes poor service delivery, mismanaged water equipment and infrastructure, or operational inefficiencies in water and sanitation utilities.
  • 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.

Scroll down for more details and click on the official link attached to apply.

Additional Information

Host Institution
World Bank
Program Type
Fully Funded
Program Benefits
Participants entering the World Bank Youth Innovation Challenge will:

Sharpen your entrepreneurial skills in pitching to investors, developing your business plan, honing product-market fit, growing a thriving team, early stage fundraising, scaling from lab to market, and more. 
Improve business plans 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. 
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). 

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