Challenges and Competitions


MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC)

Organization: MIT

Application Deadline: May 9, 2019

The IIC is the flagship program of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, awarding more than $1 million annually to entrepreneurs who are using technology to provide the most innovative solutions. Global Winners will receive a $250,000 grant from IIC as well as access to potential investors and additional opportunities for funding. In the last three years, the IIC has committed more than $3.5 million in funding to winners.

WE Empower UN SDG Challenge

Organization: Arizona State University

Application Deadline: May 12, 2019

The WE Empower Challenge is a global business competition to honor, support and celebrate women entrepreneurs who are advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to create the world we want by 2030. Five awardees, one from each of five UN Regional Blocks, will be chosen to receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York during the UN Global Goals week (22-29 September 2019) to participate in a series of tailored trainings and events.

Idea Croron ka – Season 4

Organization: Idea Croron Ka, Neo TV

Application Deadline: May 15, 2019

Idea Croron Ka is Pakistan's Premier Business Reality TV Show on NEO Channel that bridges the gap between investors and entrepreneurs. This show is an important step to develop the culture of entrepreneurship amongst the masses. Idea Croron Ka gives budding entrepreneurs a platform to present their ideas to business tycoons and investors, who analyze their ideas, provide them investment and help them scale. It also features segments focusing on prominent figures in Pakistan who have undergone hardships to ultimately achieving their goals.

Women Entrepreneurship Challenge (WEC 2019)

Organization: Karandaaz Pakistan

Application Deadline: May 20, 2019

Karandaaz Pakistan, with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), seeks to enable growth of women-led businesses by providing technical and financial support to female entrepreneurs across the country.
Karandaaz Women Entrepreneurship Challenge 2019 is now accepting applications from women-led businesses that have been in operation for 3 years and are looking to scale up their business. Selected businesses will receive business development support and will be eligible for investment of up to Rs. 20 million.

Enterprise Challenge Pakistan

Organization: Prince’s Trust International and SEED Ventures

Application Deadline: May 25, 2019

Enterprise Challenge Pakistan is a one of a kind pan-Pakistan, business simulation competition for secondary school students that is designed to inspire and instil entrepreneurial and business acumen amongst young people, and to encourage them to consider entrepreneurship as a career option.

Zayed Sustainability Prize

Organization: Zayed Sustainability Prize

Application Deadline: May 30, 2019

The Zayed Sustainability Prize, an evolution of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, is the UAE’s pioneering global award in sustainability and a tribute to the legacy of the late founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Established in 2008, this annual award recognises and rewards the achievements of those who are driving impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions across five distinct categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools.

Science, Technology and Innovation Transform Fund (ISDB-STIF)

Organization: Islamic Development Bank

Application Deadline: May 31, 2019

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has established a special Fund, known as Science, Technology and Innovation Transform Fund (IsDB-STIF) to support its Member Countries in finding practical solutions to key development challenges related to 6 focused Sustainable Development Goals through the power of innovation. Transform is a multi-million-dollar fund that provides seed money for innovators, startups, SMEs and institutions that need initial funding and growth capital to develop their ideas and compose a strong business proposal. 

Mass Customization & Inclusion

Organization: Enel (multinational energy company)

Application Deadline: May 31, 2019

Enel is seeking creative ideas or approaches to provide customized electricity and gas products and/or services and to satisfy individual customer’s needs in order to provide a unique value with respect to diversity and inclusion. Desirable approaches can, but are not limited to, leverage on digital disruptions or new technologies (e.g. smart meters), automate Enel processes, enhance flexibility of current commercial portfolio, etc. Any solution with a compelling business justification will be considered.

Global Student Innovation Challenge (GSIC)

Organization: International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (i-CREATE)

Application Deadline: May 31, 2019

The Global Student Innovation Challenge (gSIC) is an annual event that provides a platform to encourage students from all over the world to compete in developing creative and innovative devices or solutions to improve the quality of living of the elderly and people with disability. It showcases the talents and abilities of these students while providing an opportunity to work with clients and clinicians to develop these innovative ideas.

Clean Cook Stoves Competition

Organization: D-Prize

Application Deadline: June 2, 2019

Clean cook stoves reduce health and safety risks and lower fuel expenses compared to traditional wood, dung and coal stoves. A cash prize of $20,000 will be awarded to a social entrepreneur who, in three months, can sell 500 clean cook stoves, generate US $5,000 in revenue and design a path to scale to 25,000 homes over two years. A successful model will be evidence-based, will include continuous monitoring and testing, and a commitment to change if evidence suggests your approach is not working.

2019 Applied Engineering Challenge

Organization: ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), The Setty Family Foundation

Application Deadline: June 3, 2019

ASHRAE’s stated goals and objectives include: extending the reach of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration information, connecting with others, and educating and adapting today’s technology for tomorrow to local and global communities to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.
The 2019 Setty Family Foundation Applied Engineering Challenge (AEC) is intended to stimulate student-led groups to find engineering solutions for designing self-sustaining, interconnected communities.

The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge

Organization: National Geographic, Sky Ocean Ventures

Application Deadline: June 11, 2019

More than 9 million tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans each year, and without interventions, this number is expected to almost double to 17 million tons per year by 2025. The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge will focus on three strategic ways to address this growing crisis: designing alternatives to single-use plastic, identifying opportunities for industries to address plastic waste throughout supply chains, and effectively communicating the need for action through data visualization.

Accelerate Her (Startup Pitch Contest)

Organization: Women's Forum

Application Deadline: June, 2019

Women-led startups usually received half of the investment received by men-led businesses. Despite this disparity, startups founded and co-founded by women actually performed better over time, generating 10% more in cumulative revenue over a five-year period.
That’s why Accelerate Her, in partnership with INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship and Facebook, aims to give women entrepreneurs access to funding, training and visibility that will take their business to the next level.

Smart Farming Challenge

Organization: BayWa

Application Deadline: June, 2019

As the global population continues to grow every year, so too does the demand for agricultural products. To continue feeding the world without damaging the environment is one of the greatest challenges faced by society, and can only be achieved by increasing the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural production. BayWa is looking for innovative solutions that use new technologies, ideas and products to support sustainable agriculture.

Global Cooling Prize

Organization: Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India

Application Deadline: June, 2019

The Global Cooling Prize is an international competition that calls upon participants around the world to develop a breakthrough residential cooling technology that has at least 5x less climate impact when compared to a baseline unit. The solution must meet a variety of climate- and resource-focused criteria, while also operating within cost and scalability constraints. This exciting competition will take place over the course of two years and will allow participants the opportunity to address one of the single largest end-use risks to our climate.

Impact Entrepreneur of the Year

Organization: Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG)

Application Deadline: June 30th, 2019

The awards were created by the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG), which harnesses the energy of governments, agencies and entrepreneurs across the world to “drive forward the growth of the impact investment market to a tipping point by 2020".

Impact Entrepreneur of the Year award will be conferred upon either a profit with purpose company (i.e., a social enterprise) or a non-profit social service provider actively using impact investments, with over 2 years operation and USD 1 million in revenues/receipts, which demonstrates a scalable solution which truly innovates in technology, cost or impact, efficiency or effectiveness and sets new impact standards for research and development.

Challenge: Healthy Cities

Organization: MIT Solve

Application Deadline: July 1st, 2019

The Solve community aims to support solutions focused on improving the mental and physical health of people in cities and slums by: (a) Preventing infectious disease outbreaks and vector-borne illnesses caused by overcrowding, poor sanitation, and dirty water; (b) Reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases caused by air pollution, lack of physical activity, or unhealthy food; (c) Promoting physical safety by decreasing incidents of violence or transportation accidents; and (d) Enabling equitable access to affordable and effective health services, especially through community health workers and clinics, for those most underserved.

Challenge: Circular Economies

Organization: MIT Solve

Application Deadline: July 1st, 2019

To shift towards circular supply chains where the goods we use are zero waste with minimal impacts, the Solve is seeking solutions that enable: (a) Increased and equitable production of renewable and recyclable raw materials for products and packaging; (b) Design and production of mass-market clothing and apparel that are recycled and recyclable or biodegradable at end of life; (c) New business models that encourage extending the lifetime of products rather than frequent purchases; and (d) Recycling of complex products like electronics.

Challenge: Community-Driven Innovation

Organization: MIT Solve

Application Deadline: July 1st, 2019

The Solve community aims to find and support tech-based solutions to ensure citizens and communities create and improve social inclusion and shared prosperity. To do so, the Solve community seeks solutions that: (a) Support communities to participate meaningfully in designing and determining solutions around critical services including housing and transportation; (b) Make governments, corporations, and other institutions more accountable, transparent, and responsive to citizen feedback; (c) Create or advance equitable and inclusive economic growth across geographies and demographics; and (d) Ensure all citizens can overcome barriers to civic participation and inclusion, including expanding access to information, internet, digital literacy, and services.

Challenge: Early Childhood Education

Organization: MIT Solve

Application Deadline: July 1st, 2019

The Solve is seeking technology-based solutions that improve learning and cognitive outcomes for children under the age of five that: (a) Reduce barriers to healthy physical, mental, and emotional development for all children, particularly among vulnerable populations and those affected by conflict; (b) Enable parents and caregivers to support their children’s overall development and provide positive and safe surroundings; (c) Promote exploration, early literacy skills, and language experimentation in preparation for primary school; and (d) Decrease inequalities, including stereotypes and discrimination based on gender, religion, race, or class, among children beginning at birth.

2019 Create the Future Contest

Organization: Tech Briefs

Application Deadline: July 1st, 2019

The world's premier engineering design competition is now accepting entries. Submit your best new product ideas for a chance to win $20,000 and global recognition. Individual and team entries are invited from engineers, students, and entrepreneurs. Submissions can be in any one of the seven categories: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Products, Electronics/Sensors/IoT, Manufacturing/Robotics/Automation, Medical, and Sustainable Technologies.

Call for Code 2019

Organization: David Clark Cause, IBM

Application Deadline: July 29, 2019

2019 Call for Code Global Challenge asks developers to create solutions that significantly improve preparedness for natural disasters and accelerate relief when they hit. They call on developers to create practical, effective, and high-quality applications based on cloud, data, and artificial intelligence that can have both an immediate and lasting impact.
The initiative has the support from an ecosystem comprised of a cross-section of experts, humanitarian and international organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross.

DICE Agriculture & Food Science-Innovation Event 2018

Organization: DICE Foundation, USA
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

Application Deadline: TBD

DICE-AFS, 2019 is a focused strategic initiative of DICE Foundation USA which is led by University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in close collaboration with a consortium of selected universities, the Government institutes, Agriculture and Food Industry. The broader scope of DICE Agriculture and Food Sciences is to foster culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Pakistan and establish strong relation between industry and academia of agriculture and food sciences.The initiative has the support from an ecosystem comprised of a cross-section of experts, humanitarian and international organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross.

She Loves Tech

Organization: She Loves Tech, Circle Pakistan

Application Deadline: July – August, 2019

She Loves Tech is the world's largest competition focused on women and technology. It is open to aplicants from 14 countries, including Pakistan. Any entrepreneur – male or female – who is using technology to positively impact women or any female entrepreneur who is using technology to solve a problem are eligible to apply.

Acumen Fellowship

Organization: Acumen

Application Deadline: August, 2019

Acumen Fellows Program is a one-year leadership development program designed to connect and cultivate a pipeline of social changemakers who are committed to tackling poverty in their communities. Every year, Acumen Fellows Program in Pakistan equips 20 extraordinary individuals with the knowledge, support system and practical wisdom to drive positive change in society.

School Enterprise Challenge

Organization: Teach A Man To Fish (educational charity)

Application Deadline: September, 2019

School Enterprise Challenge guides and supports teachers and students to plan and set up real, sustainable businesses. Students get the chance to gain hands-on experience of running a real business and generate profits to help support their school or a social cause of their choice.

The IOT/WT Innovation World Cup

Organization: Innovation World Cup Series

Application Deadline: September 18th, 2019

The IOT/WT Innovation World Cup®, the world-leading competition for IoT and wearable tech start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs, is welcoming techpreneurs from around the world to make their innovations visible. Take part in the competition, join the leading innovation ecosystem and grasp the chance to win prizes worth more than 500,000 USD, including a cash prize of 10,000 Euros, valuable business connections, speaking opportunities at international leading tech events like WT | Wearable Technologies Conferences, MEDICA, BIM World, Mobile World Congress and more.

Innovation Impact Grant Programme

Organization: Expo 2020 Dubai

Application Deadline: Opening in 2019

Innovation Impact Grant Programme aims to fund novel and innovative solutions that have the potential to improve people's lives. The program awards funding of up to USD 100,000 each to social enterprises, startups and projects from around the world, based on their ability to impact lives positively and generate real social value.

World Startup Challenge

Organization: UBI Global

Application Deadline: Opening in November, 2019

UBI Global will launch a unique global firestarter competition that identifies the 1,000 most promising startups in our worldwide innovation community. It matches them with corporations for rewards, investment, and mentorship. Over 700 business incubation programs worldwide represent 20,000+ startups. Each budding startup is filled with talented entrepreneurs developing exciting, new business ideas.