Leading technology company Cisco Systems has launched its 2021 Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge for recognizing new business ideas that can leverage technology for social good. This is a part of Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility effort through which it has committed to positively impact 1 billion people by 2025.
Cisco’s fifth Global Problem Solver Challenge has prize money worth $1 million that is dedicated to accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technologies, products, and services that can drive economic development or solve social or environmental problems. The total $1 million is divided into multiple prize opportunities in each region. While the grand prize is worth $250,000, regional runner-ups from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Asia Pacific will receive $75,000.
This year’s challenge aims to identify the top 20 emerging startups across the world that can positively impact 1 billion people. Any student enterprise or a new startup that digital technology to positively impact society or the environment will be considered eligible. Areas of social impact include critical human needs like water or food security, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, accessibility, and the environment.
Innovative social innovations will be judged by both subject-matter experts and public voting. Each solution will be assessed based on four distinct criteria:
- How innovative is the solution?
- How economically feasible is the solution?
- What is the scale of the potential social impact?
- How well does the team articulate the solution?
Individuals and teams of up to five members are eligible to participate. The application deadline for the 2021 competition is 29 January 2021. Semi-finalists will be asked to submit during the next phase of the competition on 30 March, with submissions closing on 23 April. Finalists will be announced on 2 June and the final winners will be announced on 29 June 2021.