Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 for Early-stage Innovative Startups ($1 Million USD in Prizes)

Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 for Early-stage Innovative Startups

Deadline: January 29, 2021, at 5 pm PT!

Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 for Early-stage Innovative Startups($1 Million USD in Prizes)

The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 is a worldwide search for early-stage technology-enabled solutions and services that can enable economic development and/or benefit society and/or the environment.

Register to Participate FOR Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021

You can participate as an individual, as part of a team, or as a business entity. Teams may have a maximum of 5 members. If you are registering as part of a team, your team leader will need to register first and then can invite you to register as a member of the team, using your email address. For detailed eligibility requirements, please visit our Rules page. Once you are ready, click here to register.

Prepare your Submission

There will be two distinct submission rounds.

Round one opens October 27, 2020 and closes January 29, 2021 at 5:00 pm PST. To prepare your submission you will need to complete an online questionnaire, which will cover the following topics:

Defining the problem you are solving

Explaining the solution, including:

Its benefits and how it uses IoT or digital technologies

How it is unique and will be taken to market

Risks associated with the solution

90-second pitch video explaining the solution

Once you are ready, click here to register (or log in) and prepare your submission.

Submit Your Solution

Once you’ve prepared and double-checked all your materials, have your team leader log onto the Challenge website here. You must upload all materials and submit them before January 29, 2021 at 5pm PT. Remember, you must click submit before the deadline in order for your entry to be considered.

Please check your entry for completeness and ensure your video does not exceed 90 seconds. Also, do not use unlicensed images, music, or video content in your submission.

Judges evaluate submissions and are looking for ideas that are especially innovative and clearly articulate the use of technology, feasibility, and scale of impact.

On March 30, 2021, Semi-Finalists will be invited via email to submit a more detailed proposal.

The round two application window opens March 30, 2021 and closes April 23, 2021 at 5pm PT. Finalists will be announced on June 2, 2021.

In addition to the information provided in round one, the online round two questionnaire for Semi-Finalists will include the following sections:

  • Problem and solution summary explanation
  • Detailed technical overview of solution
  • Dependencies
  • Timeline for the next 12-24 months
  • Addressable market
  • Financial model
  • Team bios

If you are selected as a Semi-Finalist, be sure that your team leader logs in to the Challenge website before the April 23, 2021 5pm PT deadline to double check all of the materials and click submit in order to be considered for the final round.

Be sure to check that your content meets the submission guidelines, or your entry may be disqualified. It’s also important to check for completeness, appropriate content, video length, and unlicensed images, music, or video. If your round two application is not submitted by the deadline, it will not be considered.

Vote and Promote

If you are selected as a Finalist, we recommend that you share your participation in the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 with your supporters and invite them to vote for their favorite entries. Voting for the People’s Choice Award takes place from June 2 – 18, 2021.

Celebrate the Winners

Once the submission period closes our judges will begin evaluating the submissions, looking for solutions that are especially innovative and which clearly articulate their use of technology, feasibility and scale of impact. Winners will be announced on June 29, 2021!

Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 SPECIAL PRIZES

  • $50,000 USD Greenhouse Gas Solutions Prize
    A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
  • $50,000 USD Ethical AI Prize
    A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
  • $50,000 USD Digital Inclusivity Prize
    A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
  • $50,000 USD HBCU Startup Prize
    A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
  • $50,000 USD Pandemic Response Prize
    A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.

Greenhouse Gas Solutions Prize

The Greenhouse Gas Solutions Prize will be awarded to a startup using technology to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) in the Earth’s atmosphere. This GHG reduction may come from:

• reductions in GHG emissions released during a product or process life cycle,

• direct removal of GHG emissions from the atmosphere,

• economic use of removed emissions or byproducts,

• implementation of already proposed solutions (such as from Project Drawdown®),

or other innovations to stop the increase—or even reverse—GHG concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere. The winner of the Greenhouse Gas Solutions Prize will be awarded $50,000 USD to accelerate the development of their solution.

Ethical AI Prize

The Ethical AI Prize will be awarded to a startup designing artificial intelligence in an inherently ethical manner so that the solution addresses social, environmental, or technological challenges. We believe the ethical use of AI and machine learning can radically accelerate social impact while also reducing unintended societal harm. This $50,000 USD prize is being offered by Cisco’s Emerging Technologies and Incubation Group. The winner of the Ethical AI Prize will also be offered the chance to present their solution and get feedback from the Emerging Technologies and Incubation team. This exclusive opportunity will include up to five hours of technical mentorship in an area of the winner’s choice, plus a session with our engineering team to help expand the solution’s technical scope.

Digital Inclusivity Prize

The Digital Inclusivity Prize will be awarded to a startup using technology to ensure that no one is left behind, and that underserved communities are enabled to thrive in an increasingly digital word. The winning solution will be focused on closing the digital divide by addressing issues such as accessibility, affordability, and digital literacy to build a more inclusive digital world. This $50,000 USD prize is offered by Cisco’s Emerging Technologies and Incubation Group in the spirit of our new purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All.  The winner of the Digital Inclusivity Prize will also be offered the chance to present their solution and get feedback from the Emerging Technologies and Incubation team. This exclusive opportunity will include up to five hours of technical mentorship in an area of the winner’s choice, plus a session with our engineering team to help expand the solution’s technical scope.

HBCU Startup Prize

Cisco’s Social Justice Beliefs and Actions framework commits to the strategic recovery, sustainability and legacy of historically Black colleges and universities, post-COVID and beyond. We believe in the importance of investing in African American/Black-owned startups. The HBCU Startup Prize will be awarded to a team with at least one founder who is a student or alumni of an HBCU, with an innovative technology solution that addresses a social or environmental problem. The winner of the HBCU Startup Prize will be awarded $50,000 USD to accelerate their solution.

Pandemic Response Prize

The Pandemic Response Prize will be awarded to a startup responding to COVID-19 or future pandemic crises. The winning team will have an innovative technology solution that accelerates the response to, or recovery from, COVID-19 and its physical, social, or economic impact. The winner of the Pandemic Response Prize will be awarded $50,000 USD

Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 APPLICATION

APPLY HERE

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