MIT Solve announces 2020 global challenges

On Feb. 25, MIT Solve launched its 2020 Global Challenges: Good Jobs and Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Learning for Girls and Women, Maternal and Newborn Health, and Sustainable Food Systems, with over $ 1 million in prize funding available across the challenges.

Solve seeks tech-based solutions from social entrepreneurs around the world that address these four challenges. Anyone, anywhere can apply by the June 18 deadline. This year, to guide applicants, Solve created a course with MITx entitled “Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprises,” which introduces core business-model and theory-of-change concepts to early-stage entrepreneurs.

Finalists will be invited to attend Solve Challenge Finals on Sept. 20 in New York City during U.N. General Assembly week. At the event, they will pitch their solutions to Solve’s Challenge Leadership Groups, judging panels comprised of industry leaders and MIT faculty. The judges will select the most promising solutions as Solver teams.

“Based all over the world, our Solver teams are incredibly diverse and have innovative solutions that turn air pollution into ink, recycle and resell used textiles, crowdsource data on wheelchair accessibility in public spaces, and much more,” says Solve Executive Director Alex Amouyel. “World-changing ideas can come from anywhere, and if you have a relevant solution, we want to hear it.”

Solver teams participate in a nine-month program that connects them to the resources they need to scale. To date, Solve has facilitated more than 175 partnerships providing resources such as mentorship, technical expertise, and impact planning. In the past three years, Solve has brokered over $ 14 million in funding commitments to Solver teams and entrepreneurs.

Solve’s challenge design process collects insights and ideas from industry leaders, MIT faculty, and local community voices alike. To develop the 2020 Global Challenges, Solve consulted more than 500 subject matter experts and hosted 14 Challenge Design Workshops in eight countries — in places ranging from Silicon Valley to London to Lagos to Ho Chi Minh City. Solve’s open innovation platform garnered more than 26,000 online votes on challenge themes.

  1. Good Jobs and Inclusive Entrepreneurship: How can marginalized populations access and create good jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves?

  2. Learning for Girls and Women: How can marginalized girls and young women access quality learning opportunities to succeed?

  3. Maternal and Newborn Health: How can every pregnant woman, new mother, and newborn access the care they need to survive and thrive?

  4. Sustainable Food Systems: How can we produce and consume low-carbon, resilient, and nutritious food?

As a marketplace for social impact innovation, Solve’s mission is to solve world challenges. Solve finds promising tech-based social entrepreneurs around the world, then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help scale their impact. Organizations interested in joining the Solve community can learn more and apply for membership here.

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