Citi Innovation Challenge Will Excite at Education Nation

NBC Universal has announced that it has partnered with Citi and the NewSchools Venture Fund to sponsor the second annual "Citi Innovation Challenge," which will take place at the Education Nation Summit hosted by NBC News. The aim of the contest is to help education stakeholders all over the country comprehend the impact of innovation on opportunities to improve academic outcomes for students.

The Citi Innovation Challenge is a competition that takes place over several days at the same venue hosting the summit, The New York Public Library. The contest will bring together three teams made up of young innovators from around the country who will compete against each other in a series of challenges. The final event will allow the teams to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts, and the pitch competition will be broadcast by NBC News to Summit participants and on the Summit website.

"American innovation has always been a key driver of progress, and for 200 years, Citi has strived to enable it," said Citi Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit. "We are proud to once again be partnering with NBC News on the ‘Innovation Challenge' to help take the next generation of education technology entrepreneurs from ambition to achievement."

"Thanks to this partnership with NBC News, we get to open a national window on technological innovation in education," said Ted Mitchell, CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund. "America will get to meet a group of passionate young entrepreneurs, all of them determined to build tools that really help teachers. This is going to be an exciting contest."

The first competition, held in 2011, showcased three teams of young entrepreneurs who showcased their designs of technological tools to help teachers enhance the classroom experience. ClassDojo, the company that emerged as the winner of the challenge, was awarded $75,000 in startup capital and was even featured on the NBC's "TODAY" show. In less than a year, the company, which develops software to help teachers monitor students in real time, has expanded dramatically and now has clients in more than 30 countries around the world.

The teams tapped to participate in this year's edition – which promises bigger challenges, and an opportunity for the viewing audience to cast their vote for the team whose technology they believe will have the biggest impact on education – are:

  • Pathbrite, a tool to help students – and learners of all ages – collect, track and showcase a lifetime of achievement, and recommend pathways for continuous success
  • ReadImagine, which uses tablet technology and highly engaging content to foster active reading behavior, kindle imagination and improve literacy
  • NoRedInk, which helps students improve their grammar/writing skills by creating content from their favorite celebrities, friends, and personal interests

The prize they will be competing for will be larger, too. The winner will get $100,000 grant prize as well as appearance on several NBC News shows to talk about their product.

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