Become a Solver

Solver® teams receive funding, nine months of personalized support and join Solve's community of social impact leaders.

Do you have a solution to one of the most pressing challenges of our time? Apply to Solve's Global Challenges, which are open for submission from February to April each year. Challenges address five key areas: Climate, Learning, Health, Economic Prosperity and Indigenous Communities.

Selected applicants become Solver teams and:

  • Receive a $10,000 prize from Solve and access to additional funding in the form of grants and investments

  • Participate in a 9 month virtual support program including

    • Tailored capacity workshops 

    • Leadership coaching

    • Access to in-kind and pro bono resources such as software licenses and legal services

    • Curated opportunities to connect & network with impressive peers that act as a trusted support group, offering inspiration and guidance.

    • Monitoring and evaluation support to build an impact measurement practice

  • Join a powerful network of impact-minded leaders across industries and sectors, with dedicated spaces to meet year-round and travel stipends to join Solve’s flagship events

  • Gain exposure in the media and at conferences.

Thanks to our partners, to date Solve has mobilized over $75 million in funding for Solver teams and social innovators, in addition to in-kind support.

MIT’s network and contacts have opened doors to avenues that we would otherwise have not been able to access. Going through such a rigorous due-diligence process—having your product reviewed in microscopic detail by such a renowned institution—was valuable validation of our impact. MIT Solve represents a true standard of excellence and signals that a solution is more than just a hopeful dream. 
Priya Lakhani, Founder and CEO of Solver Century Tech

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply?

How do I apply?

What type of solutions will Solve accept?

How does Solve define technology?

Submitting multiple solutions and applying to multiple Challenges

How will my solution be evaluated?

What will I get if my solution is selected?

What’s the time commitment if I’m selected?

Who can apply?

Take five minutes to fill out this questionnaire and assess whether you are eligible to apply!

Anyone, anywhere around the world can submit a solution to Solve's Global Challenges, including:

  • An individual, a team, or an organization

  • An applicant from previous years

  • A current Solver team or Solver team from a previous class. (Note: your solution must be new and not be the same solution that was previously selected by Solve. If you have any questions on this policy, please reach out to your contact at Solve.)

For full participation details, please see our Terms of Service.

How do I apply?

Review our “How to Apply to a Challenge” webpage for tips and tutorials to get you started.

What type of solutions will Solve accept?

Solve seeks innovative, human-centered, tech-based solutions to our Global Challenges. Through open innovation, Solve is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions across geography, development stage, and team members’ gender and background. We encourage people of all backgrounds to submit applications.

You can submit applications at the stages listed below.

  • Concept: An idea being explored and researched for its feasibility to build a product, service, or business model, including prototypes under development. Until the solution has a functioning prototype, we would still consider it a Concept.

  • Prototype: An initial working version of a solution that may be in the process of getting initial feedback or testing with users (i.e. running a pilot). If for-profit, a solution that has raised little or no investment capital. Until the solution transitions from testing to consistent availability, we would still consider it a Prototype. (Often 0 users/direct beneficiaries)

  • Pilot: The solution has been launched in at least one community, but is still iterating on design or business model. If for-profit, is generally working to gain traction and may have completed a fundraising round with investment capital. (Often 10+ users/direct beneficiaries)

  • Growth: An established solution available in one or more communities with a consistent design and approach, ready for further growth in multiple communities or countries. If for-profit, has generally completed at least one formal investment round (Seed stage or later). If nonprofit, has an established set of donors and/or revenue streams.

  • Scale: A standard solution operating in many communities or multiple countries and is prepared to scale significantly by improving efficiency. If for-profit, has likely raised at least a Series A investment round.

Though you are able submit a solution at Concept-stage, please note that MIT Solve is not able to support Concept-stage solutions, and therefore Concept-stage solutions will not be reviewed or selected as Solver teams, with exception of the Indigenous Communities Fellowship (where solutions are accepted at all stages, including Concept-stage). We also hope that you will apply to a future Challenge when your solution is further developed.

How does Solve define technology?

We define technology broadly as the application of science and evidence-based knowledge to the practical aims of human life.  We welcome solutions that are using apps, SMS technology, software, AI, robots, drones, blockchain, and virtual reality! We also welcome solutions that are leveraging traditional, ancestral, and natural technologies, and knowledge systems. That could be plant-based solutions that reduce the effects of climate change, biodegradable sanitary pads, or solutions that leverage centuries-old irrigation or building techniques. Learn about all our Solver teams' diverse technologies.

Technology is a tool that brings exciting possibilities but also introduces potential risks, especially for vulnerable populations. One of the key roles of social innovators is to design products and services that are responsive to stakeholders and drive positive impacts while minimizing risk and harm. This approach can be labeled as human-centered design, design ethics, responsible/ethical technology, etc. Solve prioritizes solutions that are designed by, with, and for the populations that they are intended to impact, and that anticipate and reduce risks.

Submitting multiple solutions and applying to multiple Challenges:

  • Can my organization submit a solution to multiple Global Challenges? Yes, you may apply to multiple Global Challenges. However, if your solution advances beyond the initial judging rounds in multiple Global Challenges, you will be asked to select one challenge in which to advance.

  • Can my organization submit multiple solutions to the same Global Challenge? Yes, but you would have to create another user account to submit another solution to the same Global Challenge. In addition, you will only be allowed to pitch one solution to the judges if you advance. The judges will select the solutions that are most aligned with the criteria and dimensions of the Global Challenge.

  • Can my organization submit a solution to a Global Challenge and a Custom Challenge? Yes, you may submit a solution to both Global Challenges and Custom Challenges. You may also apply to multiple Custom Challenges. Note that the resources offered to winners of Custom Challenges vary from the Solver program associated with the Global Challenges.

How will my solution be evaluated?

First, Solve's staff and community (including our supporters, MIT faculty, and Solver teams from previous cycles) will conduct an initial review to select semi-finalists. Secondly, Challenge Leadership Group judges (experts and leaders from across industries and sectors) will review and select the Solver teams based on a virtual live pitch and Q&A session.

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 the intended population.

  • Feasibility: The team has a realistic, practical plan for implementing the solution, and it is feasible in the given context.

  • 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.

  • Inclusive Human-Centered Design: Inclusive and equitable outcomes are considered in the design, implementation, and internal operations of the solution.

  • Scalability*: The solution has a plan for financial viability and the potential to 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.

  • Technical Feasibility*: If the underlying technology is novel, the applicant has provided convincing evidence that it has been built and functions as they claim it does.

*This criterion will not be considered during the initial review to select semi-finalists.

What will I get if my solution is selected?

If you are selected as a Solver, you’ll receive a $10,000 grant from Solve, travel funding for flagship events in New York (September) and Boston (May) following selection, access to additional funding, and a 9 month program of personalized support from Solve staff and Solve’s cross-sector community.  

What’s the time commitment if I’m selected?

Selected Solver teams should expect to commit ~25 hours to the program over the course of 9 months, inclusive of coaching sessions, workshops, virtual events, etc. Additionally, travel and attendance to MIT Solve flagship events is usually 4 days for Solve Challenge Finals in New York (September) and 5 days for Solve at MIT in Boston (May). 

Get notified about future Challenges

Photo courtesy of Solver Neopenda.

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