Helping young people reach their potential

Young leaders step up to the plate

Climate change, gender inequality, water scarcity. The world has significant challenges to address. Would you ask teenagers to do it?

Moody’s partner Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) would — and did again in 2018.

The World Series of Innovation is a global online competition for young entrepreneurs ages 13–24. Each year, NFTE offers up challenges based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Teams pick a global issue, then use business skills, creativity and research to form a plan to solve it. More than 800 teams competed in 2018.

Last year, Moody’s sponsored two challenges: to create an initiative addressing the effects of rapid urbanization and to increase access to affordable, reliable energy. For the 2019 World Series of Innovation, Moody’s proposed a new challenge: to design an initiative that promotes responsible energy consumption. The challenges posed in the competition are real-world issues, and the logic, research and methodical approaches the student competitors apply to solving them are innovative and uplifting.

Honoring and fostering innovation

During Global Entrepreneurship Week 2018, Moody’s and EY hosted an event at the United Nations headquarters to honor the competitors and sponsors of the World Series of Innovation.

A panel discussion, moderated by Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, highlighted the benefits of encouraging the entrepreneurial mindset and how the world needs youth, entrepreneurs and the business community to work to make the world a better place. Representatives for the City of New York, the U.N., EY and Mission Measurement contributed their expertise on the panel. Gus Harris, Moody’s Analytics executive director of Content Solutions and a member of the NFTE board of directors, gave the closing remarks.

“I find promise, optimism and hope when I get to meet and hear from our high school and college students — tomorrow’s leaders — and observe their passion, creativity and energy,” Harris said.

To him, the opportunity inherent in the ideas presented and in the next generation of leaders was clear: “What I saw was immense potential.”

Over the years, Harris has been impressed with the caliber of young people in the World Series of Innovation and other NFTE programs and competitions. He still recalls a past group of early teen winners. “I was amazed,” he says. “The way these young people conducted themselves, I would have thought they were at least 10 years older.”

More than sponsorship: A partnership

The partnership between Moody’s and NFTE is a natural fit, reinforcing and amplifying our efforts to empower entrepreneurship, support sustainability and help young people succeed. Beyond sponsoring the competition, Moody’s employees volunteer as judges for the World Series of Innovation and serve as coaches and guest speakers at other NFTE events and in classrooms.

We also sponsor NFTE’s Entrepreneurship 2 curriculum, part of NFTE’s robust Entrepreneurship Pathway of programs. Entrepreneurship 2 provides an advanced class for learning to refine business models, develop products and build sales, marketing, finance and management knowledge. Through the course, students compete for startup capital and prizes on the local, regional and national levels. It is not all about competition though: The module also helps prepare students for the Certiport Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification exam.

NFTE’s entrepreneurship courses attract a diverse group of students each year. The courses provide students from under-resourced communities with the opportunity to build business, leadership and problem-solving skills.

Harris sees several indicators of success: increasing program participation, students’growing entrepreneurial mindsets and, most importantly, what participants accomplish after leaving the program. That includes the possibility of future internships or jobs at Moody’s, and NFTE students have been invited to the Moody’s offices several times for business planning and ideation sessions.

“Thinking creatively, thinking about risk taking, working with others — the whole entrepreneurial mindset is the future of our workforce,” Harris says.

Despite the magnitude of the global challenges ahead, he is encouraged by the possibilities of working with NFTE and other leading institutions. “As long as we are part of the larger collective efforts, hand in hand with others around the world, there is reason for optimism,” he says.

“Thinking creatively, thinking about risk taking, working with others — the whole entrepreneurial mindset is the future of our workforce.”

The demographics of NFTE’s student participants reflect the diversity of the under-resourced communities where the organization operates1













1Total percentage is greater than 100 because students can identify as more than one race or ethnicity.





Solving global problems takes global perspective.

NFTE works in 19 locations across nine countries, reaching students around the world with the help of partners like Moody’s and our participating offices in Delhi, India; Mexico City; New York City; San Francisco; Singapore; Waltham, Massachusetts; and West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Moody’s in action for entrepreneurial youth

The World Series of Innovation is just one of many ways Moody’s leaders volunteered to help young entrepreneurs develop financial, creative and business skills in 2018.

Business Today Impact Challenge

Moody’s demonstrated our commitment to helping people grow their small businesses with a seed-funding competition for socially conscious entrepreneurship. Seven Moody’s executives volunteered as judges, speakers and mentors for the groups.

NFTE Innovation Day

Senior leaders from Moody’s helped schools and community organizations learn about market research, opportunity recognition and business economics during Innovation Day volunteer events in the Delhi National Capital Region in India, Mexico City, New York City, San Francisco, and West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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