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Gender Equity in STEM Challenge

How can girls and women reach their full potential and thrive in STEM education and careers in the United States?

Submissions are Closed


DEADLINE EXTENDED to Thursday June 8, 2023, by 11:59 AM. 

How does the Challenge define key terminology such as “women” and “STEM”?

This Challenge seeks solutions that will help provide women with the tools and conditions needed to reach a state of equality with men in the STEM fields. When we refer to “girls” and/or “women,” we are referring to anyone who identifies as female. As such, this challenge invites applications from any solution that serves girls, women, and/or non-male individuals. When we refer to “STEM” we are inclusive of the broad range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and career paths that exist in all sectors.

Who can apply to the Gender Equity in STEM Challenge?

We invite submissions from individuals, new teams, or established organizations. Solutions can be for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid models and must be at least at the prototype stage. Solutions must be deployed in the US and serving US beneficiaries in order to be eligible for the Challenge. If you have a relevant solution addressing at least one of the dimensions of this Challenge, we hope you’ll apply!

What types of solutions are eligible?

Solution applications must be written in English. The Challenge considers solutions at various stages of development.

  • 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 or population. 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 populations. 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 populations 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.

Through open innovation, the Challenge is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions across US geography, development stage, and team members’ demographics. We encourage people of all backgrounds to submit applications including male allies, whose role in helping to create gender equity in STEM fields cannot be understated.

How are we CrowdSolving the Gender Equity in STEM Challenge?

  1. Sourcing Solutions: Anyone who meets the criteria above can participate in this challenge and submit a solution. Whether you’re working on a prototype or scaling your program or product, we’re looking for innovators and entrepreneurs with the most promising solutions to break down the barriers to gender equity in STEM fields.
  2. Selecting Solutions: Once the submission deadline passes, judging begins. After an initial screening by Solve staff and community reviewers, challenge judges will select the most promising solutions as finalists. These finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions at a virtual pitch event, where judges will then select the winners.

How will my solution be evaluated?

The judging panel for this Challenge will be comprised of leaders and experts with experience advocating for gender equity and diversity in STEM across many sectors and throughout the US. After an initial screening by Solve staff and community reviewers, the judges will score the screened solutions based on the following criteria. All criteria will be given equal weight:

  • Alignment: The solution addresses the key dimensions of the Gender Equity in STEM Challenge.
  • Potential for Impact: The planned solution implementation has the potential to impact the lives of girls, women, and people of gender identities often excluded from or disadvantaged within STEM education and careers.
  • Feasibility: The team has a realistic and 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 affected communities; the solution team demonstrates proximity to the community and embodies and addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion through their solution. 
  • Scalability: The solution can be scaled to affect the lives of more people within its target population.
  • Partnership Potential: The applicant clearly explains how the solution would benefit from the resources that Tiger Global Impact Ventures and MIT Solve are positioned to provide.

What is the Challenge timeline?

  • March 8, 2023: Challenge opens
  • [DEADLINE EXTENDED] June 8, 2023: Deadline for applicants to submit a solution
  • August 8, 2023: Finalists announced*
  • September 11-12, 2023: Virtual pitch event for finalists*
  • September 15, 2023: Winners announced*
  • October 2023 - May 2024: Winner support program

*While we aim to follow the schedule above, the following dates are subject to change. All applicants will be notified if changes occur. 

What will I receive if my solution is selected?

Finalists will be invited to a virtual pitch event to present their solutions in front of distinguished judges. A total pool of $1 million in prize funding is available for up to 8 winners of the Gender Equity in STEM Challenge. Winners will be eligible for a maximum prize of $250,000 and a minimum prize of $50,000.

In addition to funding, each Challenge winner will participate in a six-month tailored support program run by MIT Solve that will include:

  • A comprehensive needs assessment to determine what resources and support are most appropriate in order to accelerate your impact
  • Access to a network of resource partners across industries and sectors
  • Learning and development modules aimed at refining your business model, theory of change, and plans for scaling
  • Individual or group leadership coaching, a process of reflection, learning, and change to maximize your personal and professional potential
  • A peer-to-peer network to build a community of practice with dedicated spaces to convene throughout the duration of the support program
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