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Apply Now for 2023 UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity for frontier tech solutions ($100K equity-free investments)

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Are you a start-up company looking for funds? Is your product registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries? Is it a working prototype? has it demonstrated results, and is (or could be) open-source licensed? The UNICEF Venture Fund 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. Apply for the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity now!

The UNICEF Venture Fund is interested in learning about startups that are innovating in sectors that can positively impact the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. If you are developing a solution using data science, machine learning, virtual reality, blockchain, or drones, UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity is for you and UNICEF is excited to hear from you.

What is Equity-free investment?
Equity-free investment refers to a type of funding where investors contribute capital to a startup without taking equity ownership in the company. This means that the investor does not receive any shares or a stake in the company’s profits. Instead, the investor may receive a fixed return on investment or other forms of compensation such as revenue share agreements.

What is referred to as Start-up companies?
UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity is for start-ups with financial assistance such as:

  • if you have an active prototype that works.
  • You are in a stage where you need a small amount of money to get it to the stage where you can prove it works for other people.
  • Maybe you need to hire another developer or two or get design help to communicate what your project can do.
  • Maybe you need some server space.
  • Refactoring something into a new language because what you first wrote it in won’t scale.
  • Testing it in a new area.
  • Getting some data points.
    (These are not huge financial investments, but they are what the Innovation Fund can help with, to accelerate your work).
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Eligibility
Projects are assessed by the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity team and recommended for funding to the internal board. Companies need to fulfill the following mandatory requirements to be considered for the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity:

  • Registered as a private company
  • A private company registered in a UNICEF programme country
  • Working on open-source technology solutions (or willing to be open-source) under the following licenses or their equivalent:
    (i) for software, a BSD license,
    (ii) for hardware, a CERN license and
    (iii) a CC-BY license for design or content,
  • Has 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
  • UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity only accepts submissions from companies registered in UNICEF programme countries. See the list of countries
  • 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.

Requirement

  • UNICEF is looking for businesses to reply to its EOI for open-source digital public goods for children. This REOI will culminate in the issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to qualified businesses, which will lead to the development of Institutional Contracts with the successful Vendors for a duration of one year.
  • Submissions to this REOI will be reviewed on a regular basis. Shortlisted companies will be notified within three months after submission. Only shortlisted vendors will be contacted and thereafter included in the next RFP.
  • Funding requests up to $100,000 USD will be taken into consideration by UNICEF. Expressions of Interest shall only be taken into consideration by UNICEF at its sole discretion and if doing so is in the organization’s best interests. This includes ideas that call for more financing.
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Application Process for the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity

  • 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. You should provide the information and supporting documents indicated in the form.
    Applying to the Fund does not automatically ensure that the submitting company will be selected to participate in the next stages of the application process.
    UNICEF reserves the right to change or cancel the requirement at any time during the application/selection process. UNICEF also reserves the right to require compliance with additional conditions as and when the investment decision is made.
    Please review the additional information for the Request for Expression of Interest here.
  • 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.
  • 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.

To apply
if your company meets the eligibility criteria for the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity, carefully read through and fill out the online application form.

Submission of expression of interest for the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity

  • Interested companies that meet the eligibility criteria are required to complete and submit the EOI Response form and provide the information and supporting documents indicated in the form. EOIs response forms must be submitted through submit
  • This REOI does not constitute a solicitation. UNICEF does not require bids or proposals at this stage; this request is merely seeking an expression of interest in participating in the tender.
  • A response to this Request for Expression of Interest does not automatically ensure that submitting companies will be selected to participate in the subsequent Request for Proposals.
  • UNICEF reserves the right to change or cancel the requirement at any time during the REOI and/or solicitation process. UNICEF also reserves the right to require compliance with additional conditions as and when issuing the final tender/RFPS document.
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Ideas / Companies the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity is Supporting
i) Project is developing new technology
ii) 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)
iii) 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 Form
To apply for the UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity click on the form, read it carefully, and fill it out appropriately

Inquiry
. If you have any additional questions about this REOI, please submit questions in this form and submit, Answers to all questions submitted will be shared publicly.
. For more information about the UNICEF UNICEF Innovation Fund Opportunity Visit UNICEF

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