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, our 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.
About Solve : Solve at MIT is our flagship annual event held on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA, bringing together more than 500 cross-sector leaders as well as MIT faculty and students. The event will feature Solver teams on stage, in online and written materials, and through dedicated Challenge workshops
About the program
- Source Solutions
Solve seeks innovators around the world with solutions to our Global Challenges. Whether your solution is just a prototype, you’re running a pilot, or you’re ready to scale, we want to hear from you.
- Select Solutions
Once the submission deadline passes, judging begins. After an initial screening by Solve staff, our Challenge judges select the most promising solutions as Finalists. These Finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions live at Solve Challenge Finals, where judges will select the new Solver class.*
- Support Solutions and Partnerships
Once selected, the Solver class joins Solve’s global community of cross-sector leaders—gaining access to funding, resources, mentorship, and new connections. Resulting partnerships between our Solver class and community Members will be announced at our flagship event Solve at MIT.
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, we hope you’ll apply.
Types of solutions
Solve seeks innovative, human-centered, tech-based solutions to our Global Challenges.
we will consider solutions at all stages of development:
- Idea: We 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.
2019 Global Challenges:
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
2019 Indigenous Communities Fellowship:
January 11, 2019: Fellowship opens
March 10, 2019: Deadline to submit a project application
April 2019: Selected projects announced
May 7-9, 2019: Solve at MIT in Cambridge, MA
*Please note that the Indigenous Communities Fellowship follows a different schedule and selection process. Learn more about the Fellowship.
Our judges are experts and leaders from across industries. After an initial screening by Solve staff, our 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.*
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.
For more information and participation, please visit https://solve.mit.edu/challenges