Clinton Foundation and Verizon join forces to cultivate the next generation of innovators.

By: Rebecca Nicole Laming

By connecting students with resources, the partnership will foster innovative solutions to address social and environmental challenges.

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Sitting in virtual classrooms is potentially the next scientist who will protect us from a future pandemic or make a discovery that will change countless lives. However, even the best ideas can gather dust unless the right partners, support and resources help bring them to life.

Earlier this week, the Clinton Foundation and Verizon announced a new partnership to help college students foster leadership skills and inspire them to develop innovative ideas that address pressing societal issues.

Through the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) program, Verizon will help college students develop tech-driven solutions with the support of specialized curriculum and programming, as well as access to experts in technology and innovation. These resources will be available to all CGI U students for one year and specifically focus on engaging students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and community colleges.

As part of Citizen Verizon, this collaboration further highlights our commitment to support the development of technology-based solutions - including those leveraging the power of 5G - to address significant societal challenges, while simultaneously working to diversify the voices in the next generation of innovators.

Under this partnership, CGI U and Verizon will jointly launch a competition for university students and CGI U alumni to develop sustainable and business-oriented innovations. Competition finalists will have access to an accelerator program to advance their ideas towards proofs of concept, culminating in a pitch competition with the opportunity to win seed funding for their solutions. More information will be announced in January 2021.

Each year the CGI U program brings together students to develop “Commitments to Action” through peer networking, skills training, funding opportunities, high-touch mentorship with experts across business, philanthropy, government, and more. The most recent CGI U cohort, the Class of 2020, developed more than 650 Commitments to Action across education, environment and climate change, poverty alleviation, peace and human rights, and public health.

On Thursday, Rose Kirk joined fellow thought leaders and changemakers to discuss solutions to address structural inequality, building a more inclusive society and how to take action amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual event, “Entrepreneurship + Equity,” was hosted by President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.

“By partnering with the Clinton Global Initiative University, we’re able to tap into young innovative minds who are interested in tackling pressing societal challenges to drive real change. We’re putting next-gen technology, like 5G, into their hands to help inspire them to transform their ideas into real solutions and take the lead as our next generation of innovators.” - Rose Stuckey Kirk

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