Register to participate in the Fair Work Case Competition - Submissions deadline: October 20, 2022

About the Case Competition

Challenge: Design an innovative technology solution that advances inclusive, scaleable workforce development and entrepreneurial equity to promote productive economic growth and decent work for all.

This case competition asks both non-technical and technical university-level student teams around the world to devise innovative solutions that address the challenge of making decent job creation, entrepreneurship, and fair, sustainable labor a lifelong opportunity of economic growth for all. The competition theme is inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8. Your solution should address one of the diverse challenges aligned to this theme and demonstrate how technology can help communities in need around the world. While solution submissions do not need to include working code, you will need to describe the technologies required and how those technologies fit into the solution. 

The economic shocks associated with COVID-19, such as industrial production disruptions, falling commodity prices, and increased market volatility, have made financial security and sustainable economic growth even harder to achieve. Sustained and inclusive economic growth can create more decent jobs and improve living standards. The World Development Report (2022) estimates that in 2020, economic activity contracted in 90 percent of countries, the world economy shrank by about 3 percent, and global poverty increased for the first time in a generation. While 3 billion people are working, almost half work in farming, small household enterprises, or in casual or seasonal labor. In these circumstances, incomes are insecure and leave more than 1.5 billion in vulnerable, marginalized employment with limited or non-existent "safety nets" to weather surprises such as illness or a break in employment. Many of the most vulnerable are young people and those in the transition from childhood to total independence. 

Innovation is needed to address these issues. As examples, across the world, the creation of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises have proven to drive economic development and transformative growth in communities across the world. Fair labor is the cornerstone of development, and advances in this area are essential in the creation of new jobs and engagement in the labor force.

As examples, you might design Case Competition solutions that:

  • Encourage full and productive employment, protecting labor rights and promoting safe and secure work for all women and men, including young people and persons with disabilities.
  • Increase economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading, efficiencies in responsible consumption and production, or other innovations.
  • Promote development-oriented policies that support decent job creation or entrepreneurship, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.

Who should participate

Successful teams require diverse skillsets to design unique solutions. Explore some of the personas that are often successful in case competitions, but remember: there is no one way to build a great team. In order to participate, you must meet all eligibility criteria:


The tech lead of your team. Builders bring the technical know-how to help ground your solution in what's possible.


Your UX expert who ensures the solution is user-friendly and visually appealing. Designers bring creative vision to technical problem solving, making what you build sleek and easy-to-consume.


Good communicators make complex ideas simple and inspiring. Your team's calculating hustler is essential in articulating the problem and succinctly defining how the solution can make a difference in a profound, unique, consumable way.


Altruistic thinkers who understand the complex problems at hand in a truly human way and are committed to finding a solution to make a demonstrable difference. This inspirational lead of your team considers the communities in need, while also thinking like the individual user.

Judging criteria

Submissions will be judged equally across four primary criteria, which evaluate whether the solution applies technology effectively to solve a real-world problem.

Compelling storytelling

Relevancy and impact

Design and feasibility

Innovation and originality


$22,000 USD total prize pool

1st Runner-up

$7,000 USD

2nd Runner-up

$3,000 USD

Grand Prize

$12,000 USD

Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) will invite students from the winning team to participate in their year-round program that supports the next generation in developing social impact projects to address pressing societal challenges.

Each student from the winning team and each runner up team will be invited to apply to IBM job opportunities. IBM will consider each application and will invite winning team members to interview for roles they qualify for.

Challenge timeline

Monday | August 26th, 2022 - Registration opens

Thursday| October 6th, 2022 - Competition begins

Thursday | October 20th, 2022 - Project submission deadline

October 21st-24th, 2022 - Judging period

Monday | October 31st, 2022 - Winners announcement

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