APPLICATION DEADLINE: 29 January, 2021
Calling all #TechForGood Startups around the world! Do you have an early-stage innovative technology solution that could solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems? Apply for the fifth annual Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge.
The fifth annual Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aims to recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from entrepreneurs around the world. Their goal is to advance early-stage projects that are beyond the concept or idea formation stage, but which have not yet generated over $1M USD in funding and/or revenue. They look for projects with a dedicated team and that have completed a proof of concept for the core functionality of the product/service at a minimum.
$1,000,000 USD in prize money will help accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.
In 2021, they are offering an expanded prize pool of $1 million USD, spread across 20 different awards. These prizes will recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from early-stage entrepreneurs around the world.
- $250,000 USD Grand Prize: A single team will be designated the grand prize winner.
- $75,000 USD Regional First Runners-Up: Three teams from Americas, EMEAR and APJC will be designated the regional first runners-up and will receive $75,000 USD each.
- $50,000 USD Second Runners-Up: Three teams will be designated the second runners-up and will receive $50,000 USD each.
- $25,000 USD Third Runners-Up: Three teams will be designated the third runners-up and will receive $25,000 USD each.
- $10,000 USD Fourth Runners-Up: Three teams will be designated the fourth runners-up and will receive $10,000 USD each.
- $10,000 USD People’s Choice: The finalist entry that receives the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.
- $10,000 USD Cisco Employees’ Choice: The finalist entry that receives the most votes will receive the Cisco Employees’ Choice Award.
Special 2021 Prizes
- $50,000 USD Greenhouse Gas Solutions Prize: A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
- $50,000 USD Ethical AI Prize: A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
- $50,000 USD Digital Inclusivity Prize: A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
- $50,000 USD HBCU Startup Prize A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
- $50,000 USD Pandemic Response Prize A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
In addition to a cash infusion to develop your solution, it will be reviewed by Cisco technology experts and high-profile judges. You’ll receive peer and industry validation for your solution, as well as have a great opportunity for global recognition and publicity.
- Open to early-stage entrepreneurs around the world with new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact
- This Contest is open and offered only to
- individuals age eighteen (18) years or older at the time of registration (“Individual Participant”)
- teams of up to five individuals age eighteen (18) years or older at the time of registration (“Team Participant”), and
- legal business entities (“Business Entity Participant”).
- Applicants may be nonprofit or for-profit business entities, or they may not yet have formed a legal business entity.
If your solution uses digital technology to positively impact society or the environment, consider entering. Areas of impact include, but are not limited to, critical human needs like water or food security, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, accessibility, and the environment.
The judging panel will make their selection based on the content of the submissions and using the following criteria:
- Innovative Internet of Things (IoT) or digital technology solution: How innovative is the solution in its use of new or existing technology to solve a local or global problem? Are there other solutions available and if so, how does this differentiate from them? (33%)
- Feasibility: How feasible is the solution to put into practice? Does the solution make sense financially? Will the solution be sustainable over the long term? (24%)
- Impact: What is the scale of potential social impact? How broad is the impact? How many people will your solution reach? How significant is the impact? (33%)
- Clarity: How well do you articulate your solution and the potential impact it will have on society? (10%)
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