Become a Solver

Solver® teams join our MIT-backed network and receive nine months of personalized support from Solve's community of social impact leaders.

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Do you have a solution to one of the pressing challenges of our time? Apply to Solve's Global Challenges, which are open for submission from February to May each year. Selected applicants pitch their solutions to a panel of expert judges and an audience of hundreds of cross-sector leaders at Solve Challenge Finals

Those selected as Solver teams join our nine-month program and:

  • Receive access to funding in the form of grants and investments, including through prizes and Solve Innovation Future. At least $10,000 is awarded to every selected team.

  • Join a class of impressive peers that act as a trusted support group, offering inspiration and guidance.

  • Join a powerful network of impact-minded leaders across industries and sectors, with dedicated spaces to meet year-round and during Solve’s flagship events such as Solve at MIT.  

  • Access leadership coaching and strategic advice from experts in the Solve and MIT networks. 

  • Receive monitoring and evaluation support to build an impact measurement practice. 

  • Gain exposure in the media and at conferences.

  • Access relevant in-kind resources such as software licenses and legal services from Solve supporters. 

Thanks to our partners, to date Solve has catalyzed over $60 million in commitments for Solver teams and social entrepreneurs, in addition to in-kind support.


Get notified about future Challenges


Frequently Asked Questions


Who can apply?

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

You can be:

  • 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.)

If you have a solution, we hope you'll apply. For full participation details, please see our Terms of Service.


How do I apply?

Not sure how to apply to a Challenge? Click here for helpful 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. 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. 

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.

Solution applications must be written in English. You can submit applications at the stages listed below.

Please note that for all Global Challenges, aside from the Indigenous Communities Fellowship, MIT Solve will not review or select Concept-stage solutions. If you have a Concept-stage solution and are applying for one of these challenges, you are still welcome to submit it! We also hope that you will apply to a future Challenge when your solution is further developed.

  • Concept: An idea being explored for its feasibility to build a product, service, or business model based on that idea.

  • Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model. If for-profit, a new company getting off the ground that has raised little or no institutional capital (less than $500,000) in pre-seed fundraising.

  • Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community. If for-profit, a young company that is working to gain traction and that has raised less than $2 million in institutional capital in seed funding.

  • Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. If for-profit, an early-stage company that has established a track record and is seeking to raise a round of roughly $2 million to $15 million in institutional capital in a Series A or potentially B round.

  • Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency. If for-profit, a successful company that is scaling its operations and seeks to raise a round of more than $15 million in institutional capital.

 

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.
  • 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.


How will my solution be evaluated?

Our judges are experts and leaders from across industries and sectors. Solve's staff and community (including our Members, MIT faculty, and Solver teams from previous cycles) will conduct an initial review to select semi-finalists, then Challenge Leadership Groups will review semi-finalist solutions and select the Solver teams. 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: The solution is designed with and for underserved communities, and the solution team demonstrates proximity to the community and embodies and addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion through their 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*: The technology underlying the solution already exists, has been proven to work in other contexts, and is being appropriately applied to the solution; or, if the underlying technology is novel, the applicant has provided convincing evidence of its potential function.

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

Selected Solver teams will pitch before the Challenge Leadership Group and a live audience at Solve Challenge Finals. These promising solutions will form the new Solver class and build partnerships with the Solve community.


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, as well as access to significant additional funding.

However, being a Solver is about much more than funding. When you join our MIT-backed network, you'll receive nine months of personalized support from Solve staff and Members of Solve’s cross-sector social impact community. Through these connections, you'll build the partnerships needed to accelerate your work, validate your impact and business model, and scale your solution. 


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



Photo courtesy of Solver Neopenda.

 
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