About the Challenge

The Ultimate Combination of a Case Competition and an Investment Proposal!

You get to choose the topic and then propose a blended finance solution with impact!

What is LIFT?

Launching Investment for Future Transformation (LIFT) sponsored by Bank of America challenges undergraduate and graduate students around the world to propose blended finance and impact investing strategies for sustainability solutions that will drive equity and economic mobility related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In basic terms, blended finance-based impact investing includes public/government financing and sometimes philanthropy to reduce risk to make big sustainability investments more attractive for private capital. Find out more here.

Recorded Information Session:

How to join the LIFT Challenge!

If you have additional questions after watching the recorded information session, send us an email: We are excited to meet you and welcome you to this year’s LIFT Challenge cohort!

How do I register?

Detailed Timeline

Register using the form on the “Compete” page.

Below are the steps to follow after you register. Have fun!

Optional: Sign up for one or more information sessions

Dates and Times are TBD. You can join these sessions anytime and you do not need to stay the entire time.

Step 1: Submit a Concept Note (As Soon As You Can) – Accepted on a Rolling Basis

  • Create a team of three to five students (suggested – we accept teams with fewer or more students, as well). Note: Teams may include students from multiple schools, colleges, universities and/or from multiple departments. We encourage it!
  • Choose one or multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) you want to address.
  • You can pick a challenge/opportunity anywhere you want: locally and close to home, regionally or globally to facilitate. This can be for a proposed initiative, an existing initiative, an existing organization or a group of stakeholders/organizations. We welcome collaboration between students and organizations – it is a perfect opportunity to gain experience, work together and solve real issues!
  • Submit a two or three paragraph concept note here. We do not use your concept not for judging, only to match you with coaching and learning opportunities relative to your general idea. We will accept registration/concept notes on a rolling basis. You can also register on the “Compete” page.

Step 2: Create and Submit Your Proposal (January 31, 2024)

Develop your proposal and submit it in January, 2024 (exact date is TBD). As soon as you have registered and submitted your concept note, you will receive a link to start your submission, which will provide detailed guidance. Your proposal will consist of:

  • A new, required three paragraph summary of your proposal.
  • A required presentation slide deck up to 25 slides.
  • An optional two page narrative describing the proposal.
  • An optional spreadsheet illustrating financial and impact details of the proposal.

Step 3: The Finals (February 16-17, 2024)

We will announce the finalists for LIFT in early February, 2024. The finals will take place virtually (online) TBD in February, 2024. These will consist of live virtual pitches to judges. Judges will include investment, business, finance and sustainability professionals. The finals will also provide opportunities for networking and to learn from professionals in this space.

More Background: The Objective

We invite your student team to pitch an idea in line with the UN SDGs, and identify untapped opportunities and bridge gaps to solve social inequities and create opportunities for economic mobility.  There is no single path in the fight for social justice and equitable economic opportunity. The world needs ideas for all sectors, topics and regions. So no matter where you’re from, teams can pitch solutions for high-income countries, low-income countries, and everything in between.

The world is experiencing monumental challenges; from climate change to the lack of access to clean water and sanitation, from the need for affordable housing to sustainable energy and infrastructure. The impacts from these challenges have been disproportionate, affecting the most vulnerable, underserved populations and communities.

We can tackle these complex sustainability issues in a manner that advances social equity, justice and economic mobility. Blended finance can help us do this successfully! We need unique solutions that combine multiple finance and investment mechanisms to support innovation from and for all stakeholders. 

Solving complex sustainability issues requires strong collaboration between all stakeholders and an extraordinary level of capital investment to scale solutions. According to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, as much as $90 trillion is needed over the next 15 years to develop a sustainable infrastructure that can begin to address the world’s most pressing environmental, economic and social issues. But where will all that money come from? The world has trillions of dollars to invest but how can it be organized? 

The Blended finance approach is gaining recognition for leveraging the power of private capital to solve issues that are too big for any individual organization to tackle on its own. With a blended approach, sustainable development projects that typically start with public or philanthropic capital are complemented with (and get a powerful boost from) private investment capital seeking both financial returns and the satisfaction of contributing to sustainable solutions. 

Learn more here.

We support the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals


Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability

The Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability drives responsible thought leadership and inspired action to accelerate progress in social and environmental sustainability through innovative and profitable business solutions.

We accomplish this by engaging with and connecting stakeholders to empower students, faculty and businesses to create impactful solutions, strengthen resiliency and identify breakthrough opportunities.


⯈ UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

UNC Kenan-Flagler is a leading global professional school of business. Our research influences business leaders, academics and policymakers. Our graduates are known for their effective and principled leadership as well as their technical and managerial skills. We are a workplace of choice for faculty, staff and students; a valued member of the UNC-Chapel Hill community; and a contributor to the welfare of North Carolina and the world beyond.


⯈ Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise develops and promotes innovative, market-based solutions to vital economic issues. With the belief that private enterprise is the cornerstone of a prosperous and free society, the institute fosters the entrepreneurial spirit to stimulate economic prosperity and improve the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.

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