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UNICEF Innovation Fund 2023 : Call for application for Open Source Technology Solutions for Children


The UNICEF Innovation Fund 2023 is looking to make up to US$100K in equity-free investments to provide early-stage (seed) funding to for-profit start-ups developing frontier technology solutions that can positively impact the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth.

The fund is for:
Companies whose product is registered in one of UNICEF’s program countries, are a working prototype, has demonstrated results, and is (or could be) open-source licensed.
UNICEF will support companies registered in these markets in UNICEF’s program countries- with a small amount of money to move solutions to the stage where these are proven to be workable and can be implemented.

The Innovation Fund does not take equity, instead, UNICEF requires that all code, content, or hardware developed and tested be open source and publicly available. The Innovation Fund provides money, technical support, and a network to help such companies grow. Funded projects will be connected to other similar early-stage projects in other countries, which should enable projects to develop faster and better.

What kind of ideas/companies will the Innovation Fund support?
They support companies that:

  • The project is developing new technology.
  • The project is expanding/improving existing technology/ platform (i.e. it will be in a place where the technology is being used but will involve new tech being built)
  • Project is a new application/ piloting new use case for existing technology (i.e little or no new technology will be built and it will be used in the same place)

Application process
Step I: Check Eligibility
Interested companies are required to check the eligibility of the Innovation Fund
Step II: Submit the Application
Interested companies are required to submit an online application through the Fund website. Also, provide the information and supporting documents indicated in the form.
Step III: Submit Request for Proposal
The Innovation Fund reviews all applications and notifies companies of the decision. Shortlisted applicants are invited to submit a detailed proposal, this is called the Request for Proposal (RFP) step.

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Step IV: Demo Interview
After a careful review, companies shortlisted at the RFP step are invested in an online demo interview. This is usually a 30 min interview the with Innovation Fund team and experts from our tech teams.
Step V: Final Result
Based on a complete assessment of the application, RFP, and interview, the Innovation Fund makes the final investment decision and notifies all selected companies.

UNICEF Innovation Fund 2023 funding criteria. Companies need to fulfill the following mandatory requirements to be considered for funding:

  • Registered as a private company
  • Registered in a UNICEF program country (see list of program countries here)
  • Working on open-source technology solutions (or willing to be open-source) under the following licenses or their equivalent:
    1. For software, a BSD license,
    2. For hardware, a CERN license and
    3. A CC-BY license for design or content, a CC-BY license
  • An existing prototype of the open-source solution with promising results from initial pilots
  • The solution has the potential to positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable children
  • Generating publicly exposed real-time data that is measurable

Who is not eligible

  • A University
  • Individuals cannot submit expressions of interest.
  • The Fund does not help large companies to create new business lines.

How to apply

  • Applicants can use translating tools such as Google Translate if they’re unable to complete the Expression of Interest in English.
  • An eligible company can submit more than one expression of interest for different projects. Each will be assessed independently based on the criteria. The funding cap will be applied to each application.
  • Click here to apply
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28th July 2023

For questions contact them

For more information, visit UNICEF.

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