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Win up to USD 25,000 of Seed Funding and Participate in 2021 ITU Innovation Challenges

1 month 4 weeks ago

One year in, the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact on society. It has exposed the fragility of the current economic system across the globe, but it has also provided a powerful lens to examine the underlying conditions that led to this fragility, and illuminated gaps in economic and social values chains, providing the opportunity to improve economic resilience and related issues.

Digital technologies have shown great potential in mitigating, recovering from as well as preventing pandemics and other disasters. Economic recovery and resilience in the “new normal” will come through the power of digital transformation.

Therefore, there is a need to identify, recognize and support the development of digital communities accelerating digital transformation in the post-COVID-19 era. Hence, the overall theme of the 2021 ITU Innovation Challenges is Building vibrant digital innovation communities to unlock digital transformation potential for the new normal.

This year's challenges, therefore, highlight the significance of digital innovations and communities fueling COVID-19 resilience. Each challenge category focuses on a specific community — from youth to entrepreneurial support groups — that is accelerating digital transformation during the pandemic, and future-proofing economies and societies. ​

Innovation Challenges Milestone

  • 2 June​ 2021: Launch of Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation an​d Generation​ Connect Video Pitch Challenges​.
  • ​31 July 2021: End of ​Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation and Generation Connect Video Pitch Challenges​.
  • 16 August 2021: Winner Announcement: Generation​ Connect Video Pitch Challenge.
  • 31 August 2021: Shortlisted Candidates Announcement: Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation Challenge.
  • 12 September 2021 (To be confirmed): Winner Announcement: Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation Challenge.

Challenge Scope

The following challenges was launched in June, while additional challenges will be added at later stages.

  1. Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation Challenge (co-organized by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).​ This challenge seeks scalable innovative digital solutions that can: (i) enable countries, societies, communities, institutions and individuals from the Global South to deal with the cascading effects of the pandemic across governance, economy, social sectors and wellbeing; and (ii) contribute to the organizations' respective focus on South-South Cooperation and digital technologies​.
  2. Generation Connect Video Pitch Challenge (co-organized by ITU's Generation Connect programme)​.​ This challenge seeks promising and meaningful ideas to connect the unconnected to close the digital divide, highlighting the importance of youth involvement.​

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation Challengeonly legally registered organizations/institutions from developing countries [1] are eligible to participate in this challenge. The challenge is open to governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, private sector and start-ups, research institutions, academia, and civil society organization (CSOs).
  2. Generation Connect Video Pitch Challenge- young ICT enthusiasts aged between 18 to 30 years are eligible to participate in this challenge.​
  3. Only one entry per challenge is permitted. Multiple entries from the ​same applicant for one challenge will be disqualified.

[1] These include the least developed countries, small island developing states, landlocked developing ​countries, middle-income, low-income countries and countries with economies in transition. ​​

Evaluation Criteria

Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation Challenge

The evaluation criteria below will be used by the selection committee for both the shortlisting of 20 to 25 best submissions ​and the final selection of the winning submissions. Each criterion has been assigned a percentage weight for scoring.​

  • 20% for Relevance: Incorporation of South-South and triangular cooperation as a modality for replications and scaling up to other developing countries. The innovation should demonstrate how it will increase peer-to-peer learning among the Global South.
  • 15% for Adaptability: Should demonstrate its adaptability and replicability to the local context.
  • 15% for Sustainability: Support sustainable and continuous response to the COVID-19 crisis and its short or long-term impact.​​​
  • 15% for Viability: Demonstrate the viability of the solution in terms of its effectiveness and feasibility.
  • 20% for Partnership: Engagement with local partners in other developing countries to assure viability in local conditions, and to promote sustainability and scalability of the solution.
  • 15% for Impact: The innovation much showcase how it has the potential to impact lives and drive socio-economic benefit, most of all among vulnerable and excluded populations. ​

Generation Connect Video Pitch Challenge

The evaluation criteria below will be used for the selection of the winning proposals. Each criterion has been assigned a percentage weight for ​scoring.

  • 20% for Originality: The concept must be original.
  • 20% Creativity: The idea must be innovative and unique.
  • 10% Sustainability: The idea must clearly elaborate the ways in which the proposal will be able to continue.
  • 20% Viability: The idea must be realistic and logical.
  • 10% Impact: ​The idea must fall within the scope of the challenge and have cross-cutting impacts.
  • 20% Relevance: ​The idea must be relevant to the challenge topics.​

Awards

Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation Challenge

  • The organizations/institutions whose submissions have been finally selected by the selection committee as the winning proposals will, through their appointed representatives:
  • Attend a virtual boot camp to further refine their plans and their milestones (e.g. market entry, deployment, impact traction).
  • Will be provided with seed funding up to USD 25000 to implement/improve/scale up their proposed solution(s), with mentorship and training support, in a new market (developing country) by end of April 2022 (subject to the presentation of a sound budget and a work plan with clear milestones and budget allocation. The seed funding will be applied based on the progress of implementation). Both the seed funding will be provided by ITU subject to the terms and conditions of agreements signed between ITU and each winning institution/organization.
  •  Present virtually their digital innovation solutions/prototypes at UNOSSC's annual Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo and ITU's 2021 Global Innovation Forum, where they will also share knowledge and explore opportunities for potential partnerships.
  • Be eligible for additional fundraising and resource mobilization support from UNOSSC through a crowdfunding window of the South-South Galaxy platform.

Generation Connect Video Pitch Challenge

  • The top 10 winning submissions will be featured at the Generation Connect Youth Summit.
  • Their creators will also be invited to participate virtually in the event and join the Generation Connect virtual community.
  • Standout ideas to be featured on “International Youth Day" during The Road to Addis.

SELECTION COMMITTEE

Global South COVID-19 Digital Innovation Challenge

  • A selection committee of experts from ITU, UNOSSC and supporting partners will be convened to shortlist the 20 to 25 best submissions, and the final selected proposals​​.
  • The committee will be composed of at least 5 experts, including outside experts and with at least one member from UNOSCC and one from ITU.
  • The committee will elect a chairman who will steer the deliberation for selecting winning proposals. ITU and UNOSCC will provide the secretariat for the committee.
  • The committee will first examine all submitted applications for an initial evaluation to shortlist candidates based on the strength of their application and the evaluation criteria.
  • All shortlisted submissions will be provided with a mentorship and training package to prepare them for a “pitch and win" ​session.
  • The selection committee will then convene to select up to 10 winning submissions based on overall performance and the evaluation criteria during a live pitching event.

​Generation Connect Video Pitch Challenge​​

A selection committee of experts selected by ITU and supporting partners will be convened to select up to 10 winning submissions. The committee will be composed of at least 5 experts, including outside experts and with at least one member from the board of ITU Generation Connect. The committee's selections will be based on overall performance and the evaluation criteria during a live pitching event.

Apply HERE to participate.

 

 

 

 

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