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What Difference Will You Make This Summer?

Ignite your imagination in YELLOW’s Summer of Innovation! We are challenging you to find a problem worth solving, and to design a solution that’s creative, impactful, and feasible. What can you do to make a positive difference in the world?

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What is the Summer of Innovation?

The Summer of Innovation is an online campaign to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in kids nationwide. It runs from June 21st, 2021 - August 6th, 2021.

Whether it’s with a new business idea, art or music project, a unique invention, or a helpful service, this campaign is focused on challenging kids to find problems that matter, and then to solve them! The Summer of Innovation is about encouraging kids to explore their interests with an entrepreneurial mindset and to make a positive difference in their communities, while competing for prize packages that include the support to actually bring their ideas to life.

The Summer of Innovation is powered by YELLOW, a nonprofit social venture founded by Pharrell Williams. Our mission is to educate all forms of learners by embracing and building upon their diverse strengths, encouraging innovation, and empowering them with the skills to be successful in an ever-changing world.

Our Partners

Who Can Participate?

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Elementary School Level

Grades 3-5

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Middle School Level

Grades 6-8

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High School Level

Grades 9-12

The Innovator's Journey

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Find a Problem

Figure out a problem you want to solve, or something you think you can improve. Big or small, this problem can be in your home, school, community, or world. Does your community need a safer place to play or do kids at your school need more access to healthy food? You can solve it!

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Brainstorm Possibilities

You’ve come up with your problem, and now it's time to think of solutions. Think big by creating a product or service. Write down all of the ideas that come to mind when solving the problem, even if they sound wild! The sky's the limit.

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Research Ideas

Once you have your ideas, now you need to narrow it down to one. Finding the right idea can come with trial and error. Researching your ideas, the facts, and statistics surrounding them should help you narrow down the product or service solution to create. Research with care.

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Shape Your Idea

You’ve chosen your product or service, so now it’s time for you to make it real. Come up with your target audience, product or service name, slogan, marketing ideas, and more. Tweak and polish your product or service, and make it stand out!

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Make It & Pitch It

Now it’s time to sell! Convince our judges that your product or service is the best way to solve the problem you’ve identified. Pitch your idea and show us a prototype of how your product or service works.

Create Your Pitch

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Prototype

Develop a working prototype for your pitch that demonstrates your product or service in action.

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Display

Present your pitch in a presentation. Use the template to explain your product or service in a clear and interesting way.

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Record

Film your 3-minute pitch—quality video and good audio are critical to understanding your product or service solution.

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Impress

Upload and submit both your video and presentation slides and impress our judges. Be sure to make your idea stand out!

Questions To Answer In Your Pitch Video and Presentation

  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • What’s your solution? How and why did you come up with the idea?
  • What is the name of your product or service? What is the slogan?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • How would you market this product or service to your target audience?
  • Explain the materials used, the functionality, etc., for your prototype.
  • How much does your product or service cost to produce? (materials, labor, etc.)
  • What is the sale price of your product or service?
  • What is the return on your investment? Or what is your profit?

Prize Packages

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Elementary: 3-5

  • $1,000 investment to start your business
  • Business mentor to guide you through the start-up process
  • Shout out on social media
  • An honorable mention prize of $250 will be awarded to 2 Elementary School students
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Middle: 6-8

  • $3,000 investment to start your business
  • Business mentor to guide you through the start-up process
  • Shout out on social media
  • An honorable mention prize of $500 will be awarded to 2 Middle School students
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High: 9-12

  • $5,000 investment to start your business
  • Business mentor to guide you through the start-up process
  • Shout out on social media
  • An honorable mention prize of $750 will be awarded to 2 High School students

Judges

Pharrell Williams

Founder of YELLOW, Inc.

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams is a visionary recording artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. He has been a creative force in the music industry and beyond for more than two decades.

Over the years, Pharrell has been honored with 13 Grammy Awards, including 2004’s, 2014’s and 2019’s Producer of the Year, and ASCAP’s prestigious Golden Note Award in 2012. In 2014, his original song “Happy,” featured in Despicable Me 2, also received an Academy Award nomination. In 2017, he received an Academy Award nomination for co-producing Best Picture-nominated Hidden Figures (2016), as well as a Golden Globe nomination for co-scoring the film. In June 2021, Williams will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame along with Chad Hugo for their work as The Neptunes.

In 2008, Pharrell founded From One Hand To AnOTHER, Inc. (FOHTA), a foundation that provided over 1,700 children across the U.S. with summer camps focused on S.T.E.A.M.M. – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Motivation. FOHTA served predominantly at-risk and low-income elementary, middle and high school students. In the spring of 2020, Pharrell launched YELLOW, an organization that focuses to "even the odds" for every student to have access to a first rate education.

Marques Colston

Founder of Marques Colston Enterprises (MCE)

Andrew Nikou

Marques Colston

Marques Colston is the founder of Marques Colston Enterprises (MCE), a professional development services company, which empowers organizations and growth-minded individuals to unlock creativity and possibility to experience sustainable business success.

Creating Separation is a Mindset© inspired by his illustrious NFL career, spanning a decade. Marques’ game-changing methodology of ‘Creating Separation’ is the paradigm shift that has propelled him to overcome adversity and experience seemingly unattainable accomplishments both personally and professionally, over his lifetime.

Marques is a Super Bowl champion, inductee in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and the Sports Hall of Fame in both Pennsylvania and Louisiana. While an active player for the New Orleans Saints, he was the all-time franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards, and total touchdowns.

Currently, Marques serves on the advisory committee for NFL Players Inc., the licensing arm of the NFL Players Association. He launched Venture Investing and Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes, an executive education program for current and former professional athletes at the prestigious Columbia Business School. He has partnered with his alma mater, Hofstra University to create the Marques Colston Fellowship, which provides experiential learning opportunities for student-athletes in health majors. And is currently teaching entrepreneurship and life skills to undergraduate students as an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans.

Felecia Hatcher

CEO, Black Ambition

Anne Wintroub

Felecia Hatcher

Felecia Hatcher is the CEO of Black Ambition and her multi-faceted expertise, creativity, and insight are unrivaled. Hatcher is the co-founder of Blacktech Week and The Center for Black Innovation, the author of five books, and a sought-after speaker and advisor who has worked with over 150 global companies and foundations to provide innovation solutions for their companies and communities. As a result of her work, Black startup founders have connected to over 10 million dollars in funding, and over 4,000 students have been introduced directly to mentorship and hands-on training in full-stack computer programming, digital literacy, and entrepreneurship.

A forward-thinking powerhouse, Hatcher is on a mission to rid communities across the globe of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems that transform communities into magnetic forces for attracting talent, resources, and opportunities to thrive within the innovation economy.

Resources

All Resources

Parental Consent Form

If the participating student is under the age of 13 years old, a completed parental/legal guardian consent form is required for the child to participate in the Summer of Innovation challenge. Please download a copy of the Parental Consent form below, and upload the completed document to when registering your child.

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The Lean Startup: 5 Ways to Build Your Business

An in-depth explanation of starting your own business using 5 useful steps. Make your ideas really come to life!

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The School of Life: Turning Unhappiness Into a Business

Finding solutions to unhappiness and problems is the first step to becoming an entrepreneur.

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Cha-Ching: How To Be An Entrepreneur in Song!

An interactive song that breaks down entrepreneurship and highlights characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

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YouTube Account, Upload, and Share Instructions

This manual will guide you through creating your YouTube account, uploading your pitch video, and sharing it with us for submission.

Read More
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