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Apply Now: $1 Million Cisco Global Social Problem Solver Challenge

By Wayan Vota on January 17, 2022

We need to inspire and empower a generation of global problem solvers who will create innovative technology solutions to solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems. With digital technologies connecting devices and data, entrepreneurs with good ideas now have the ability to make a difference more quickly than ever before.

$1 Million Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge

The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aims to recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from early-stage entrepreneurs around the world. It’s goal is to advance early-stage startups with a dedicated team that are beyond the idea formation stage, but which have not yet generated substantial funding.

Sign Up Now for more funding emails

Applicants may be nonprofit or for-profit business entities who can answer these questions about their innovation:

  • 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?
  • How feasible is the solution to put into practice?
  • Does the solution make sense financially?
  • Will the solution be sustainable over the long term?
  • What is the scale of potential social impact?
  • How many people will your solution reach?

Winning applicants will receive $1,000,000 USD in prize money to help accelerate their breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development or solve social or environmental problems.

Apply Now! Deadline February 11, 2022

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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2 Comments to “Apply Now: $1 Million Cisco Global Social Problem Solver Challenge”

  1. As a development economist with decades of work and experience across societal I respond to initiative such as this one with mixed emotions. I am grateful that funding is made available for the pursuit of solutions. I lament the fact that the causes of the problems these technological solutions are designed to address are, for the most part, behavioral causes which we mostly refuse to address directly.
    Problems as the Covid-19 virus and its variants have their roots, and their subsequent pandemic paths, in human behaviors which could be addressed if we had the collective will. Interestingly we view it as okay to influence and modify human behavior through markets and pricing, or changing choice menus based on technology (e.g. free access and social media). But we are quick to yell “respect my rights” or “no social engineering” when we are asked to re-assess our individual and collective behaviors based on principles, practices, and consequences.
    Where is the comparable funding for efforts at ethical and principled appeals and education to change behaviors? We will spend unlimited funds and human effort looking for technological solutions to plastics pollution. We not only barely address plastics pollution as a human behavioral problem, we treat efforts in that direction as an infringement on our rights. I have great respect for what humans have achieved with our technologies. I lament the extent to which we do not act effectively with respect to their collateral damage. I fear that looking to technology innovation as a “silver bullet” that allows us to ignore the consequences of our individual and collective behavior will doom us to a behavioral path to mutual self-destruction.

    • Wayan Vota says:

      Sam, I agree with you. Too often we are not focused on root problem. For example, the Great Pacific Garbage Path has much of its origin in East and South Asia. Both plastics production and discarding it into waterways. Yet there is little to no funding to change behaviors in the Phillipines, which apparently produces 1/3 of oceanic plastic waste. Instead, we get millions spent on floating booms to collect what is there now that will always be a loosing proposition.