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Global Youth Problem-Solvers Announced as Winners of Mary Kay Inc.-Sponsored NFTE World Series of Innovation Challenge

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Mary Kay Inc., a leading corporate advocate of women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, announced today the top three winners of its World Series of Innovation (WSI) Challenge in partnership with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). In its first year partnering with NFTE, Mary Kay sponsored the 2020 NFTE World Series of Innovation, a global educational experience that invites young people ages 13-24 to channel their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to find solutions for the biggest challenges facing the world today and help advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while fostering an entrepreneurial mindset.

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Mary Kay sponsors Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship World Series of Innovation Challenge to inspire young entrepreneurs to solve the world’s most pressing problems. (Photo: Mary Kay Inc.)

Mary Kay sponsors Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship World Series of Innovation Challenge to inspire young entrepreneurs to solve the world’s most pressing problems. (Photo: Mary Kay Inc.)

Mary Kay’s World Series of Innovation Challenge encouraged young people from around the world to submit innovative solutions to address Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Globally, it is estimated that 80% of discarded textiles wind up in landfills. That statistic earns the clothing and textiles industry the #2 spot on the list of worst-polluting industries, second only to the petrochemical industry. For this challenge, students were asked to design a product, service or initiative that will create a “circular economy” that encourages the reuse or repurposing of uniforms and/or other used clothing, reducing waste that ends up in landfills and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing textiles.

The three winners of Mary Kay’s Challenge are:

  • First Place: Loop Tee Loop
    • Loop Tee Loop is a sustainable clothing loop uniting lyocell textile mills with uniform recycling collection services from Metro Manila in the Philippines.
  • Second Place: SwagSwap
    • SwagSwap is a US-based social network for thrifting, enabling peer-to-peer clothing swap for teens.
  • Third Place: Project DBrand
    • Project DBrand is a unique service that de-brands used uniforms so they can be upcycled based in the US.

“Students today grow up in a world where sustainability is part of the daily, global conversation and they are actively engaged to drive change,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer at Mary Kay Inc. “Mary Kay is proud to partner with NFTE, an organization that is helping to not only ignite the entrepreneurial mindset in youth, but is encouraging them to think critically to tackle challenging global issues. Global companies like Mary Kay have a responsibility to foster entrepreneurial innovation that can help to make the world a better place.”

NFTE is a global educational nonprofit focused on bringing the power of entrepreneurship to youth in low-income communities. The World Series of Innovation (WSI) Challenge invites corporate sponsored challenges to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With a reach of 100,000 students worldwide, in 2020 NFTE received nearly 4,000 student participants of all backgrounds submitting ideas in the WSI Challenges and nearly 350 students participated in the Mary Kay-sponsored challenge.

“The World Series of Innovation encourages young people to apply their entrepreneurial mindset to address global challenges,” said J.D. LaRock, President and Chief Executive Officer of NFTE. “Each year, we continue to be inspired by the innovative ideas the next generation of entrepreneurs envision. We are grateful to Mary Kay Inc. for posing this thought-provoking global challenge that encouraged students to think about the circular economy of clothing and textiles in a whole new way.”

In addition to the World Series of Innovation, Mary Kay was one of the lead sponsors of the 2020 NFTE’s United Nations Global Goals Conversation, an annual thought leadership event convening youth, industry, nonprofits, and philanthropy to advance a dialogue around social entrepreneurship solutions. Held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, the topic of the panel was “Engaging entrepreneurs to innovate and take action using technology as a tool for social good.” The panelists discussed innovative ways to use technology to emerge from the challenges raised by pandemic such as unemployment, economic recession and an increasing social unrest to build a more equitable and inclusive society in a post-COVID world. The 2020 UN Global Goals Conversation was presented by Citi Foundation, Ernst & Young LLP (EY) and Mary Kay Inc., with additional support from Bank of the West BNP Paribas.

For more information about the World Series of Innovation and all challenges, visit https://innovation.nfte.com.

About Mary Kay
One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her beauty company nearly 60 years ago with three goals: develop rewarding opportunities for women, offer irresistible products, and make the world a better place. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements and fragrances. Mary Kay is committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world, focusing on supporting cancer research, protecting survivors from domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Mary Kay Ash’s original vision continues to shine—one lipstick at a time.

About NFTE
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a global nonprofit organization that provides high-quality entrepreneurship education to middle and high school students from under-resourced communities, as well as programs for college students and adults. NFTE reaches 70,000+ students annually in 25 states across the U.S. and offers programs in 12 additional countries. We have educated more than a million students through in-school, out-of-school, college, and summer camp programs, offered in person and online. To learn more about how we are promoting inclusive capitalism and building the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs, visit www.nfte.com.

Contact information

Mary Kay Inc. Corporate Communications
Marykay.com/newsroom
(+1) 972.687.5332 or media@mkcorp.com

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