The pandemic has exacerbated the importance of being connected in order to access jobs, training, and markets. However, the digital economy excludes over half of the world’s population who remain disconnected from the web, with more than half of Africa still offline, and 37 percent of rural US households with no access to broadband. This is an enormous missed opportunity: connecting the rest of the world could add $6.7 trillion to the economy and lift 500 million people out of poverty.
Building an inclusive digital economy—that affords everyone the opportunity to lead a dignified and productive life—will require access to digital services for everyone. It will also require reliable infrastructure, devices, and affordable data plans for all, particularly for those who do not have access in remote and rural areas. Further, access to commerce, credit lines, safety nets, and saving mechanisms are key for a global economy where nearly 2 billion people remain unbanked, and more than 60 percent of the workforce is informal.
The MIT Solve community is looking for technology-based solutions that ensure everyone has access to the digital economy. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:
- Provide low-income, remote, and refugee communities access to digital infrastructure and safe, affordable internet.
- Equip everyone, regardless of age, gender, education, location, or ability, with culturally relevant digital literacy skills to enable participation in the digital economy.
Anyone, anywhere around the world can submit a solution to Solve’s Global 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 solution, we hope you’ll apply.
Current and alumni Solver teams are allowed to apply to a new Global Challenge; however, the solution must be new and not the same solution that was previously selected by Solve. If you have any questions on this policy, please reach out to your contact at Solve.
All solutions selected for Solve’s five current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve. Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Virtual Solve Challenge Finals on September 19, 2021.
The ASA Prize for Equitable Education
The ASA Prize for Equitable Education will award a prize for digital solutions tailored to U.S.-based primary and secondary classrooms that provide career exploration or experimentation. Solutions that are embedded as part of core curriculum, utilize project based learning, ensure equitable access, and have an emphasis on teacher professional development are preferred. American Student Assistance® (ASA) is committed to helping students know themselves, know their options, and make informed decisions to achieve their education and career goals. Up to $250,000 will be granted to or invested in solutions from the Equitable Classrooms Challenge, the Digital Inclusion Challenge, the Antiracist Technology in the US Challenge, and/or Indigenous Communities Fellowship.
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion
The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion is open to solutions that advance the economic, financial, and political inclusion of refugees. The prize is funded by Andan Foundation, a Swiss non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting solutions that promote refugee resilience, self-reliance and integration. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four eligible Solver teams from across any of Solve’s Global Challenges and the Community Indigenous Fellowship.
The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity
The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity is open to solutions that advance inclusion, digital literacy, and economic opportunity in communities across the US and globally. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four recipients from the Antiracist Technology in the US and Digital Inclusion Challenges.
Innovation for Women Prize
Solutions that use innovative technology to improve quality of life for women and girls are eligible for the Innovation for Women Prize. This prize is funded by the Vodafone Americas Foundation, which supports technology-focused projects that advance the needs of women and girls, and that promote a world where women’s voices can be celebrated. Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams from any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.
- March 1, 2021: 2021 Global Challenges open
- June 16, 2021 at 12:00pm (noon) ET: Deadline to submit solutions
- August 2021: Finalists announced
- September 19, 2021: Finalists pitch at Virtual Solve Challenge Finals 2020; the most promising solutions are selected as Solver teams
- Onward: Solve matches Solver teams with Members, funders, and experts to advance their work
Application Deadline:May 5, 2021
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