Ready to Compete?

How Does It Work


Register Your Team (LIFT is FREE!)

Use the form at the bottom of this page to register your team for FREE now. We highly suggest a team of 3 to 5 students, but are open to any number of students.

Note: Teams may include students from multiple schools, colleges, universities and/or from multiple departments. We encourage it!

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!


Choose SDGs to Address

Choose one or multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address. Choose local, regional or global SDGs.


Choose an Initiative

This can be an existing or proposed initiative. We welcome collaboration between students and organizations – it is a perfect opportunity to build your network, gain experience, and solve real issues!


Submit a Concept Note (Accepted on a Rolling Basis)

The concept note is your starting point. You have up to three paragraphs to provide us with a general summary of what you are planning to propose. Do not worry. Judges will NOT see these. You can even change it later.

However, once you submit your concept note, we create coaching sessions to help you through blended finance and other topics. So submit these as soon as you can. For more guidance go to the “About the Competition” page. Submit your concept note here.

Coaching Sessions You Can Join Once You Submit a Concept Note:

  • Wednesday November 1, 2023: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT (12:30 – 13:00; New York time, UTC -4). This session will cover Impact Measurement and Management. (Same Content as the Nov. 2 coaching session)
  • Thursday November 2, 2023: 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM EDT (New York time, UTC -4). This session will cover Impact Measurement and Management. (Same Content as the Nov. 1 coaching session)
  • Thursday, November 9, 2023: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM EST (New York time, UTC-5) Blended Finance with Bank of America

We will schedule more sessions related to blended finance and relevant topics to YOUR concept note.


Develop a Blended Finance Solution (Submissions deadline January 31, 2024)

Once you submit your concept note, you will receive a link to the proposal submission site. Your solution should include a three-paragraph summary of your proposal and a presentation slide deck of up to 25 slides. Optional supplements include a two-page narrative describing the proposal and a spreadsheet illustrating the financial and impact details of the proposal.

Am I Eligible?

Any undergraduate and graduate students at a college or university anywhere in the world are eligible!

Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to join in teams of 3-5 (although we accept teams with fewer or more students). We provide resources to learn about blended finance, social equity, impact investing and sustainable finance so you are prepared to put your best solution forward.

Key Dates

Concept note submissions = rolling basis

Once you have submitted a concept note here, we will begin to schedule coaching sessions to help your team.

Create and Submit Your Proposal (January 31, 2024)

The Finals (February 16-17, 2024) – Top Eight Proposals compete live with panels of judges

For more details visit the “About” page

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.

Judging Criteria

Scale of Solution

Sources of Funding
ROI & Risk

Register Now


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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