Education innovators competing for $50,000 in prizes
Lumina Impact Ventures

Education innovators competing for $50,000 in prizes

3rd Annual Education Innovation Prize Challenge

New ideas are around us everywhere, so it’s no surprise that Lumina Foundation is looking hard for the latest innovation in our field, as well. We’ll get a look at some intriguing ideas on March 27 in New York at Lumina’s third annual Education Innovation Prize Challenge.

The Innovation Challenge highlights ideas in postsecondary education, like one previous winner,, which uses crowdsourcing to help students with personal career guidance. The web platform connects student questions with a volunteer corps of more than 15,000 working professionals with relevant experience.

More great ideas are out there, and we’re eager to see them compete at the Lumina Investing in Future Talent and Education (LIFTed) Convening. Submissions will be accepted through March 2. So if you or someone you know is interested, check us out—and if you have a minute please share this invitation with your network to help spread the word.

It’s actually a fun event: we’ve developed a pretty rigorous judging process to select three finalists to make their pitches in front of a live judging panel and audience. Imagine a room with 200+ people, the three groups of entrepreneurs each with 10 minutes to pitch their idea. That speed is part of the attraction. You can pitch a good idea in five minutes, if that’s what you have. We want to know what it is they do, why is it important, and how it scales.

A panel of judges selects the idea they think is best—and so does the audience. The winner of each prize gets $25,000, and an idea that delights both the judges and the audience can be worth $50,000.

Lumina Impact Ventures puts on the challenge, and this is a great event for us to showcase the ideas of these creative entrepreneurs.

LIV invests in companies and nonprofits that are aligned with Lumina Foundation’s mission to increase education and training after high school. Using grant dollars to make investments, we partner with entrepreneurs to help them scale their businesses, leveraging Lumina’s brand and relationships, and providing us with good lessons to complement our grantmaking.

The stakes are pretty big in all of this. Lumina supports a national goal to see 60 percent of adults with high-quality degrees or other credentials by 2025, and we’re working with business leaders, education providers and policy leaders to help make that happen.

Along with the grants we do, Lumina Impact Ventures has tools to help us partner with social enterprises and nonprofits in a more strategic way. In those cases we work with the organization’s leadership team as advisory board members. They’re typically working on technologies, products, and/or services that are very aligned with Lumina’s mission, so helping them succeed and scale furthers Lumina’s own mission.

The upshot of all this: LIV and its partners are helping to generate new ideas for education, and the March 27 Innovation Challenge is the fun, high-stakes chance for entrepreneurs to pitch their best and get a shot at some cash and encouragement.

Back to News