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Mary Kay Inc. Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to Solve for Gender Equality in the Workplace Through the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (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 its second World Series of Innovation (WSI) Challenge in partnership with Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). In its second year partnering with NFTE, Mary Kay is sponsoring the 2021 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’s World Series of Innovation Challenge asks students to think about ways to promote workplace equality and ensure equal access to economic opportunity for women and girls. (Photo: Mary Kay Inc.)

Mary Kay’s World Series of Innovation Challenge encourages young people from around the world to submit innovative solutions to address Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality. Specifically, this challenge asks students to think about ways to promote workplace equality and ensure equal access to economic opportunity for women and girls. Pre-Covid, decades of data demonstrated the rise of women in the workforce -even though the wage gap persisted - more women were joining the labor market every year. But pandemic job losses disproportionately impacted women, and since 2020, the uphill climb to workforce equality has grown even steeper.

“Mary Kay knows the importance of entrepreneurship and the role it plays in the world today and in the future, which is why we invest annually in programs and initiatives to help empower women and girls around the world,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer for Mary Kay Inc. “We want to help not only provide educational opportunities but help them pursue their dreams around the world. We are beyond excited for this challenge so connected to our company’s core mission.”

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 first-ever Mary Kay-sponsored challenge to address Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. The three winners of Mary Kay’s 2020 Challenge were:

  • 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.

“Supporting the entrepreneurial development of young people is critical to help build a better world for future generations,” said J.D. LaRock, President and Chief Executive Officer of NFTE. “Each year, we continue to be inspired by the innovations the next generation of entrepreneurs envision, and we look forward to seeing all the new ideas from WSI competitors in 2021. We are grateful to Mary Kay Inc. for its support for the second year posing this critical global challenge to help advance workplace equality and achieve equal access to economic opportunity for women and girls.”

In addition to the World Series of Innovation, Mary Kay supported NFTE’s Entrepreneurship in Every School program, bringing the entrepreneurial journey through curriculum to students across the U.S. and internationally; and sponsored NFTE’s Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenges where students pitch business opportunities for seed money in a competitive setting.

The 2021 NFTE World Series of Innovation is presented by Citi Foundation and features challenges from Bank of the West, Citi Foundation, Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), Mary Kay, Inc., Maxar Technologies, PIMCO, and Saint-Gobain. Challenges launched on September 15th and entries are due by December 15th. Judging begins in January of 2022. Finalists will be announced in February and winners will be announced on March 31st.

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 more than 56 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 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. Learn more about Mary Kay at www.marykayglobal.com

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 will reach 45,000 students this academic year, with programs in 25 states across the U.S. and in 20 additional countries. Since our founding, 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.

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Contact information

Mary Kay Inc. Global Corporate Communications
marykay.com/newsroom
(+1) 972-687-5332 or media@mkcorp.com

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