Applications open for the The UNICEF Gender-Responsive Innovation Challenge

The UNICEF Venture Fund is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusivity in its strategy for early-stage investments and driving forward new innovations created by startups utilizing cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data science (DS), drones, blockchain, or extended reality (XR). These innovations are designed to meet the unaddressed needs of marginalized and underserved children and their families.

In partnership with GITEX Africa, the Venture Fund introduces The Gender-Responsive Innovation Challenge (GRIC).

The challenge: Gender-Responsive Innovation Challenge

Acknowledging the structural and systemic obstacles in the technology industry that result in the prevalence of certain types of solutions and founders, the UNICEF Venture Fund aims to support an inclusive and gender-responsive innovation in three main areas:

Area 1: Supporting diverse and underrepresented founders (particularly women founders)

Area 2: Enhancing the accessibility of digital products and services that can address the specific unmet needs of vulnerable and underrepresented groups (including children, women, individuals with disabilities, and refugees)

Area 3: Promoting inclusive user design in the innovation development process

The GRIC serves as a platform to highlight companies at the forefront of creating gender-responsive solutions and/or businesses in Africa. Its primary goal is to identify, acknowledge, and invest in companies that contribute to achieving outcomes that can help bridge the gender gap.

Is your organization currently developing an innovative gender-responsive solution in Africa?

The Venture Fund is looking to recognize five exceptional companies in gender-responsive innovation with an award:

A selection committee consisting of GITEX Africa and UNICEF Venture Fund will assess the nominated companies based on specific criteria to determine the winners of the competition.

The winners of the GRIC will be revealed at the GITEX Africa Summit conference on 29-31 May in Marrakech, Morocco.

Selected companies will benefit from mentorship and technical guidance from experts at the Venture Fund to improve their readiness for investment and increase their chances of securing future funding. This support will include:

– 10 hours of technical mentoring covering Open Source, business development, frontier technology, software development, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
– Additional assistance to help companies understand and navigate the Venture Fund’s sourcing and selection process.

The Venture Fund is actively seeking partnerships with like-minded organizations to assist in innovation challenges, design sprints, and provide strategic technical support to promote fairness and trust in technological solutions.

If your company is working on a frontier tech solution that addresses gender disparities in Africa, consider applying for this opportunity. APPLY NOW

Solutions we are looking for in the Gender-Responsive Innovation Challenge

  1. The Venture Fund Gender-Responsive Innovation Challenge is actively seeking solutions that address challenges in order to expedite outcomes for children. These solutions should be optimized for low-resource environments, taking into consideration factors such as limited mobile access and low connectivity.
  2. Furthermore, the Fund is particularly interested in solutions that focus on reducing inequalities rather than exacerbating them. It is essential that these solutions have the capability to deliver in multiple languages, including smaller languages.
  3. At UNICEF, we prioritize solutions that not only leverage advanced technologies but also prioritize individuals’ privacy and wellbeing by upholding strict data protection measures and safeguarding principles. Additionally, we highly value a comprehensive approach that strengthens systems and services, recognizing the significance of building resilient and sustainable infrastructure to effectively support health and mental health initiatives, ultimately leading to long-lasting positive outcomes.

Leave a Reply