MIT Solve Global Challenges 2020 for Social Entrepreneurs (over $1 million of funding)

Deadline: June 18, 2020

The MIT Solve Global Challenges 2020 are now open. MIT Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation with a mission to solve world challenges. Do you have a solution to a global problem? Apply to Solve’s Global Challenges, which are open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Selected Solver teams will join a supportive community of peers, funders, and experts to help scale their impact. Thanks to their partners, Gulbenkian Foundation, General Motors, Vodafone Americas Foundation, Andan Foundation, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, over $1 million in prize funding is available across the Challenges.

Finalists for each Challenge will be invited to pitch their solutions at Solve Challenge Finals on September 20, 2020 in New York during UN General Assembly Week, and their esteemed Challenge Leadership Group members will select the most promising solutions to join their 2020 Solver Class.

The Challenges

Solve now seeks tech-based solutions to these four Global Challenges:


There’s more than $1 million of funding available for the 2020 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.

Solver teams will be selected by a panel of cross-sector judges at Solve Challenge Finals during UN General Assembly week in New York City on September 20, 2020.

In addition to Solve funding, the following prizes are available to Solver teams selected. To be considered for a prize, complete the prize-specific question within the application.

  • Innovation for Women Prize
  • Health Workforce Innovation Prize
  • The AI for Humanity Prize
  • The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion

Those that are ultimately selected as a Solver will:

  • Join a supportive community of peers, funders, and experts to help advance their innovative work through Solve’s nine-month program;
  • 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 $1 million in prize funding for the 2020 Challenges.


  • Anyone, anywhere around the world 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.

Solve seeks innovative, human-centered, tech-based solutions to our Global Challenges. Their definition of “tech-based” is broad: in addition to AI, blockchain, and virtual reality, Solver teams have leveraged a plant-based fiber that absorbs oil spills, biodegradable sanitary pads, and user-friendly mobile apps. Learn about all our Solver teams’ diverse technologies.

Through open innovation, Solve is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions across geography, development stage, and team members’ gender and background. They encourage people of all backgrounds to submit applications.

Solution applications must be written in English. They will consider solutions at all stages of development:

  • Concept: An idea being explored for its feasibility to build a product, service, or business model based on that idea. Please note that concept solutions are unlikely to be selected; you have until the application deadline to prototype and experiment with your idea!
  • Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model. If for-profit, a new company getting off the ground that has raised little or no institutional capital (less than $500,000) in pre-seed fundraising.
  • Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community. If for-profit, a young company that is working to gain traction and that has raised less than $2 million in institutional capital in seed funding.
  • Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. If for-profit, an early-stage company that has established a track record and is seeking to raise a round of roughly $2 million to $15 million in institutional capital in a Series A or potentially B round.
  • Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency. If for-profit, a successful company that is scaling its operations and seeks to raise a round of more than $15 million in institutional capital.

Judging Criteria

Judges will score solutions along 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.
  • 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.
  • Scalability*: The solution can be scaled to affect the lives of more people.
  • Partnership Potential*:The applicant clearly explains how the solution would benefit from the broad range of resources that the Solve community is positioned to provide.


Click on any of the challenges to learn more and apply.

For more information, visit MIT Solve.

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