On May 12, the winners and finalists of Ideas for Action had the opportunity to present their ideas to leaders at the World Bank. Four of the teams were able to travel to the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC, and two teams presented their proposals via webcam. Speakers at the event included World Bank Corporate Secretary and president’s special Envoy Mahmoud Mohieldin, Vice President of Global Practice at the World Bank Nena Stoiljkovic and lecturer and senior fellow at the Wharton Business School Djordjija Petkoski.
Mohieldan began by thanking all participants for their contributions to the competition and emphasizing the importance of youth in the post-2015 development agenda. “The world needs new ideas,” Mohieldan said. “Big corporations can contribute but it will be the youth that are responsible for the ideas.” Stoiljkovic expressed how impressed she was by the proposals. “[When first reading the proposals] I didn’t realize that the people were so young.” Petkoski added that “everybody is a winner”. “It is not about having the six best proposals but having 400 proposals submitted.” He also emphasized that I4A does not offer the winners and finalists money, but something much more important — “the opportunity to influence the development process.”
First to present its proposal was Pennsurance, the winner of I4A, which presented a its proposal on microinsurance products for remittance service providers in India. All members of the team were seniors at the Wharton School of Business. Pennsurance spent four to five months developing its winning ideas. Team member Keshav Garud said that five team members had not known each other prior to the competition, but were brought together by mutual friend and team member Arjun Bhaskar based on all of their interests in development. “[I4A] incentivized us to construct an idea we would not have thought about otherwise,” Garud said. “I liked how it was self-motivated rather than driven by grades.” Garud said that the team knew that it had a well-written proposal, but was surprised to win. “The next step is implementation,” he said. “We are optimistic that the framework can be applied.”
Second to present was Team Outcome, the third placed team in the competition, whose members came from Bolivia, Peru, and the U.S. Its proposal concerned decreasing poverty in Peruvian mining communities. Like Pennsurance, the members of Team Outcome were strangers prior to beginning I4A and were connected by team member María Eugenia Robles Mengoa. Given the geographical distance between members, the team had to develop and write its proposal via Skype calls and Google docs. Team member Rolando Barreto said that its proposal was based on his own experiences and observations about the use of mineral royalties in Cuzco, Peru.
Barreto said that winning third place was “really nice” and that his team is “motivated to make the ideas real.”
Team Backe & DeGagne presented third, with a proposal about development impact bonds and their application to clean cookstoves. Both members were also seniors at the Wharton School of Business and spent about two months developing the proposal. “Lena [Backe] had expertise in cookstoves and I was familiar with social impact bonds,” team member Matthew DeGagne said. “This parlayed into development impact bonds.” “We are excited to keep working on it in any capacity,” Backe added. “Most other competitions provide funding but [I4A] is a sustained opportunity rather than a one-off, which is especially important for this setting.”
The next two teams presented their proposals via webcam. From the Philippines, runner-up Team Impact PH discussed its ideas to develop the nonprofit sector in the Philippines, and from Nigeria, the second-placed Team Oxygen presented its proposal on promoting financial deepening and inclusion in the rice value chain in Nigeria. Finally, a representative from Team Rolling Stone gave a presentation on its ideas for introducing internet-based funding mechanisms for World Bank Operations.
Following the presentation of the proposals was a brief question and answer period and a reception.
The proposals of the top six teams can be found on the I4A website.