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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?

THANK YOU to all participants! SOI submission is now ended.  Winners have been announced, click here.



Summer Of Innovation 2020 - Winners

Prize - Elementary (Kam)

Elementary Level

At the Elementary School Level we have Kamryn from Virginia who created the Safety Box—a care package for the homeless that provides this population with basic necessities such as clothing, sanitation supplies, masks, and gloves. More importantly, the box itself is designed to sanitize the equipment placed inside, a key feature that is needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congratulations Kamryn on winning your $1,000 investment!


Middle Level

At the Middle School Level we have Liam from California who created the TikoTank—a self-cleaning, automated-food-giving, and temperature-monitoring fish tank. TikoTank helps mitigate the challenges of raising a pet fish by leveraging technology, while also bringing attention to ocean and aquarium conservation efforts.

Congratulations Liam on winning your $3,000 investment!

Prize - High (Sophia)

High Level

At the High School Level we have Sophia from Missouri who created Spreading Smiles—a campaign designed to prompt conversations around cleft conditions through t-shirts using innovative and eye-catching designs. Ultimately, the goal is to promote awareness and acceptance for children who are born with cleft lip and palate conditions in order to combat bullying, social isolation, and neglect.

Congratulations Sophia on winning your $5,000 investment!

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 July 6th - August 7th, 2020.

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?


Elementary Level

Grades 3-5


Middle Level

Grades 6-8


High Level

Grades 9-12

The Innovator's Journey


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!


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.


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.


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!


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



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



Present your pitch in a way that outlines your problem and explains your product or service in a clear and interesting way.



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



Upload and submit your pitch through a video presentation and impress our judges. Be sure to make your idea stand out!

Questions To Answer In Your Pitch Video

  • 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


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

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

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


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 will focus on "evening the odds" for every student to have access to a first rate education.

Andrew Nikou

Founder of the Andrew Nikou Foundation

Andrew Nikou

Andrew Nikou

Andrew Nikou is the Founder & CEO of OpenGate Capital in 2005. He is responsible for deal origination, M&A, operations and for the overall management, strategy and operations of the firm. Mr. Nikou guides OpenGate with a disciplined investment strategy focused on acquiring underperforming or non-core businesses, infusing them with the human and financial capital needed to rejuvenate the business, and improve their overall performance and value.

The firm became well known following its 2008 acquisition of the iconic TVGuide Magazine for $1 and the assumption of $50 million in liabilities. Over the course of nearly seven years, Mr. Nikou guided a turnaround at the magazine from a business that was losing significant money to one that was profitable, eventually selling the publication to a strategic acquirer.

He is the Founder of the Andrew Nikou Foundation, which serves as a resource for big ideas in social inclusion and education that can improve the lives of people who are disconnected, oppressed, and left-behind through strategic investments and partnerships, working side by side with people who are driving visionary solutions that make the difference. He holds a seat on the Board of Overseers at The Hammer Museum Los Angeles and has been a member of the XPRIZE Foundation Innovation Board.

Anne Wintroub

Head of Social Innovation for the AT&T Foundation

Anne Wintroub

Anne Wintroub

Anne Wintroub leads Social Innovation for the AT&T Foundation, specializing in philanthropy and program development in education, arts and media. She launched and oversees the AT&T Aspire Accelerator for education start-ups, and built the AT&T Aspire social innovation philanthropic program. A lifelong education and arts advocate, Anne previously held leadership roles within public broadcasting and libraries. She is the founder of The Augie Fund, which provides free glasses and lenses to children across the Bay Area in partnership with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Anne is a board member of 826 National, a network of youth writing and tutoring centers, and San Francisco Grants for the Arts, an international model for arts funding. She received her MA from New York University in Performance Studies and is a graduate of the University of California Davis. Anne lives in San Francisco with her partner, two sons (5 and 12) and rescue dog, NickNolte.


All Resources

Quick Start Guide

A quick start guide for the Summer Of Innovation 2020 Challenge.

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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.

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How to Develop a Business Idea: Crash Course Business – Entrepreneurship #2

A video of Crash Course Entrepreneurship that helps figure out what is needed to launch your business.

Read More

Innoventure Jr.: What is An Entrepreneur?

A quick guide on helping to define what exactly is an entrepreneur and the process one would take while developing their business.

Read More

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!

Read More
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