Type of Funding

Partially funded




The World Bank is inviting young social entrepreneurs from around the world to take part in the 2019 World Bank Youth Summit Competition by submitting innovative ideas that contribute to the Youth Summit’s theme of “Smarter Cities for a Resilient Future”.  They have to submit innovative proposals for scalable enterprises that leverage smart technology to build sustainable and inclusive cities that will serve the needs of 1 million people by 2030.

The 2019 Youth Summit Competition challenges young people to harness smart technology to:

  • Address the rising impacts of climate change and pollution in urban cities; and/or
  • Promote inclusive economic growth.


The Youth Summit 2019 Competition gives young changemakers the opportunity to share their ideas, connect with peers and high-level experts, and explore how to bring their ideas to the next level.

Finalists will join the 2019 World Bank Youth Summit, which will take place in Washington, DC, from 2 to 3 December 2020. The Summit will cover all travel expenses and lodging in Washington DC for up to 3 nights for 1 representative from each finalist team. The Finalists will showcase their ideas at the Summit, pitching their proposal in front of a judging panel, attending delegates, and a live-streamed online audience.

One winner will be selected by the judging panel, and another winner will be voted for by the audience. Winners will receive in-kind prizes. In addition to the prizes, all efforts will be made to feature and promote Finalists’ and Winners’ ideas on the Youth Summit event page and social media platforms, and to provide exposure to Winners at high-profile events, including, for example, webinars, workshops, and other events of the World Bank’s development partners globally.


Competitors may be individuals or teams of 1 to 4 people, aged 18 to 35, from all over the world. Prior entrepreneurial experience or business background is not required. All individuals with the drive to innovate are encouraged to participate, including professionals from business or policy, students and academics, NGO leaders, government officials and start-up founders.

Teams and individuals are limited to 1 submission each. They have to submit ideas that have the capacity to leverage technology to build sustainable and inclusive cities to positively impact their communities, countries and/or societies at large. Their innovative and action-oriented ideas must leverage data technology to address pollution and climate change, or facilitate the inclusion of the urban poor in cities.

The proposed solution (i) can be aimed at business or service (e.g. product, service, program, initiative, etc.), (ii) should solve a specific problem statement or challenge, (iii) should explain the proposal’s proof-of-concept and impact to date; and (iv) should address at least 1 of the smart and resilient cities subthemes in the 2 pillars below:

  • Pillar 1: Tackle Pollution and Climate Change – e.g. climate change prevention and mitigation; climate resilience and adaptation, including disaster risk management in urban and informal settlements; reduction or management of urban pollution; urban transportation and congestion; and green cities and green urban spaces.
  • Pillar 2: Inclusive Economic Growth – e.g. leverage the informal economy for job creation and livelihood development; labor market resilience of the urban poor working in industries undergoing automation; inclusion of women, minorities and the disabled in social and financial services; peer-to-peer sharing technologies; and political, social and economic empowerment of the urban poor.

The proposals must be created by and owned by the participants and all proposals must be submitted in English. The proposal has to provide an innovative and action-oriented business-level or policy-level idea that enhances human capital and complies with the following criteria:

  • The problem/need and the proposed solution outlined in the Proposal must relate to at least 1 of the abovementioned sub-themes.
  • The proposal has to apply to a least 1 client country of the World Bank Group (see the Official Website for all client countries).

Proposals must be between 1,000 to 2,500 words in length and must not exceed 4 pages in total.


Entries are to be submitted online by 1 October 2019.

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