The Massachusetts Institute of Technology mostly referred to as MIT is giving entrepreneurs around the world including Africa and Nigeria opportunity to get up to $725,000 in prize funding. This is courtesy of the MIT Solve 2019 Global Challenges for Entrepreneurs.
What is MIT Solve?
Solve at MIT is an flagship annual event held on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA, bringing together over 300 leaders from the tech industry, business, philanthropy, government, and civil society. Solvers and their solutions will be featured on stage, in online and written materials, and through dedicated challenge workshops. Solve staff will continue supporting Solvers to match-make partnerships with our community members who will help make Solvers’ solutions a reality.
Who can participate in MIT Solve?
Anyone, anywhere around the world aged 13 and older can submit a solution to Solve’s Challenges. You can be an individual, a team, or an organization. You can be an applicant from previous years or already part of our community. If you have a relevant solution, you can apply.
How MIT Solve 2019 works
Each year Solve seeks solutions from tech innovators around the world for its Global Challenges, and anyone can submit a solution by July 1, 2019. Finalists are invited to pitch their solutions at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly Week in New York City in September. Selected Solver teams will join a supportive community of peers, funders, and experts to help advance their work; receive mentorship and strategic advice from Solve and MIT networks; attend Solve at MIT, the annual flagship event in May; and receive access to more than $725,000 in prize funding for the 2019 Challenges.
In the last two years, Solve’s community has committed more than $7.5 million in funding to Solver teams, in addition to in-kind support such as mentorship, technical expertise, media and conference exposure, and business and entrepreneurship training.
MIT solve 2019 focus
The MIT solve 2019 challenges covers the following. Each proposal must include a technology element.
1. Community-driven Innovation
How can citizens and communities create and improve social inclusion and shared prosperity?
2. Early Childhood Development
How can all children under five develop the critical learning and cognitive skills they need to reach their full potential?
3. Circular Economy
How can people create and consume goods that are renewable, repairable, reusable, and recyclable?
4. Healthy Cities
How can urban residents design and live in environments that promote physical and mental health?
What kind of solutions will be accepted?
Solve seeks innovative, human-centered, tech-based solutions to Global Challenges. They will consider solutions at all stages of development:
- Idea: They welcome you to submit your solution idea, but please note that concept-stage solutions are unlikely to be selected. You have until the submission deadline to prototype and experiment with your idea!
- Prototype: A venture building and testing its product, service, or business model. Typically described as “pre-seed” if for profit.
- Pilot: An enterprise deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community. Hybrids and for-profits would typically be in a “seed” round and generating revenue (whether or not they are cash flow positive).
- Growth: An enterprise with an established product, service, or business model rolled out, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. Organizations at this stage should have a clear path to sustainability. For-profits at this stage would be “seed” or “Series A.”
- Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency. For-profits in this stage would be “Series A” or “Series B.”
Through open innovation, Solve is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions across geography, development stage, and team members’ gender and background. We encourage people of all backgrounds to submit applications.
How your submission will be judged
The judges are experts and leaders from across industries. After an initial screening by Solve staff, the judges will score screened solutions based on the following criteria:
- Alignment: The solution uses technology to address one of Solve’s Global Challenges.
- Potential for Impact: The planned solution implementation has the potential to impact lives.
- Scalability: The solution can be scaled to affect the lives of more people.
- Feasibility: Solution implementation is feasible, and the team has a plan for financial sustainability.
- Innovative Approach: The solution includes a new technology, a new application of technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the Challenge.
Selected finalists will pitch before the Challenge judges and a live audience at Solve Challenge Finals. The most promising solutions will form the new Solver class and build partnerships with the Solve community.
Prize and award
There’s more than $725,000 of prize funding available for the 2019 Solver Class. If you are selected as a Solver, you’ll receive a $10,000 grant from Solve as well as access to significant additional prize funding.
However, being a Solver is about much more than prize funding.
You’ll receive 12 months of personalized support with intentional introductions to members of Solve’s cross-sector community. Through these connections, you’ll build the partnerships needed to accelerate your work, validate your impact and business model, and scale your solution.
When you join our MIT-backed community, you’ll:
- Complete a needs assessment to receive a customized partnerships action plan tailored to your financial and nonfinancial needs.
- Be paired with a mentor to support you as you reach your partnership goals.
- Meet and connect with investors and cross-sector leaders to create partnerships during Solve’s flagship events, additional workshops throughout the year, and via facilitated introductions. Solve’s community of members includes leading organizations such as BNP Paribas, Google, Novartis Foundation, Save the Children, and many more.
- Grow your exposure and speak at Solve Challenge Finals and Solve at MIT. These events bring together an exclusive group of 400 cross-sector leaders and prominently feature Solver teams on stage and in workshops.
- Receive strategic advice from accomplished leaders through Brain Trusts, curated working groups bringing together a mini Board of Advisors.
- Join a class of peers to share best practices and find collaboration opportunities.
- Speak and network at other Solve-facilitated public relations opportunities, including international social impact conferences. Previous Solver engagements include the World Economic Forum, Forbes 30 Under 30, UN Women, Concordia, Misk Global Forum, and the Global Education Skills Forum.
- Hone your pitch and media presentation through customized training in advance of Solve flagship events and other engagements—support that is valued at $15,000.
- Get the word out with global media and social media exposure. With Solve’s support, Solver teams have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, NPR, The Associated Press, and The Boston Globe.
How to apply for MIT Solve
Follow these steps to apply for MIT Solve:
1. Prepare solution
Your first step is to pick a challenge and develop a solution if you do not already have a working solution.
2. Visit the competition website
Next visit the competition website. Read through the terms and ensure that you meet all of the. It s essential so that you will not work in vain.
3. Submit your solution
On the competition website, simply click on Submit a solution below the challenge you are providing solution to.
Each proposal must include a technology element. The finalists in each challenge will be invited to present their ideas at an event in New York (simultaneous with the UN General Assembly, September 2019), after which the selected winners will be offered partnership opportunities.
Timeline and deadline
- February 28, 2019: Challenges open
- July 1, 2019 at 5:00pm ET: Deadline to submit a draft solution application
- July 22, 2019 at 9:00am ET: Deadline for editing a solution application
- August 2019: Finalists announced
- September 2019: Finalists pitch at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly Week in New York City
Website and resources
The website of the MIT solve global challenge is Solve.mit.edu/challenges
You can read more about the program Here