Submit Challenge


Solution Overview

More About Your Solution

About Your Team

Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

  • Instructions
  • Solution Overview
  • More About Your Solution
  • About Your Team
  • Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities


Thank you for applying to Solve’s 2021 Global Challenges! Solve judges, reviewers, and staff look forward to reviewing your solution.

If you already have a business and impact plan for your solution, this application should be relatively straightforward. If you don’t, that’s okay -- the application will take you through core questions with resources to help. You may also consider taking Solve’s online MITx course Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprises. The course is designed to introduce core business model and impact planning concepts and to help you write strong responses to some of the more complex questions in this application. There are two sections for the five-week course: one starting March 2 and one starting May 11.

As you work on your application, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You must answer each required question on the Solution Overview page in order to save your work. (Answers can be short!)
  • Questions that are marked “For Solve Use Only” and “For Judges Only” will not be displayed on your public application or used during selection.
  • Your solution is not saved automatically. Once you have completed the required questions, there are two ways to save. You must either click:
    • CONTINUE, which saves your existing work and lets you move on to the next page.
    • SAVE DRAFT & EXIT, which saves your work and lets you exit the application.
  • Your solution is not submitted automatically. You must click the SUBMIT SOLUTION button by the application deadline (June 16, 2021, at 12pm (noon) Eastern Time). If you do not click SUBMIT SOLUTION, we cannot consider your solution.
  • Tip: Click SUBMIT SOLUTION as soon as you’ve completed the required questions to start receiving feedback from the Solve community. You will still be able to edit your solution until the deadline. That means even after you click SUBMIT SOLUTION, you can still make changes until June 16, 2021, at 12pm (noon) Eastern Time. If you do make edits, you do not need to resubmit your solution—changes will be automatically reflected in your final application.
  • Solutions cannot be edited after the deadline (June 16, 2021, at 12pm (noon) Eastern Time).
  • Tip: complete all or as many questions as you can before the deadline—complete applications are far more likely to be selected.
  • Don’t wait until the last day to click SUBMIT SOLUTION! You’ll receive less feedback from the community, and it may be difficult for us to help you with technical issues if you request last-minute help. Our Help Desk is flooded with questions and issues on the last day, and we do our best to help -- but late submissions will not be accepted, even if they are due to technical issues or connectivity problems.
Before you begin, we recommend taking a look at this guide so you can learn how to create, save, and submit a solution on Solve’s platform.

Solution Overview

Tell us who you are, and pitch us on your solution. This page (“Solution Overview”) is the only section of the application with required questions. You must complete all the required questions on this page in order to SAVE DRAFT & EXIT or SUBMIT SOLUTION. You may edit your saved or submitted solution anytime before the deadline (June 16, 2021, at 12pm Eastern Time), but you must submit it before the deadline to be considered for the Challenge.

Tell us who you are, and pitch us on your solution. This page (“Solution Overview”) is the only section of the application with required questions. You must complete all the required questions on this page in order to SAVE DRAFT & EXIT or SUBMIT SOLUTION. You may edit your saved or submitted solution anytime before the deadline, but you must submit it before the deadline to be considered for the Challenge.

Solution Name: (Required) Enter a title for your solution that will appear on Solve’s website. We recommend that you choose the name of your organization, as this will be the name we use to refer to you. If that is not appropriate (e.g. if your solution is part of a larger organization), it could be the name of the product, service, or technology that is your solution. We recommend a length of 1-3 words.

One-line solution summary: (Required) Summarize your solution in 10-20 words. This summary will be used to describe your solution on the Solve website, in introductions to Solve partners, and potentially in the media. For inspiration, take a look at examples from successful Solver applications, which can be found here directly under each Solver name.

Pitch your solution. (Required) In 150 words or less, share the crucial details of your project. Your pitch should answer three questions: 1. What problem are you committed to solving? 2. What solution are you proposing? 3. How could your solution positively change lives if it was scaled globally?

Film your elevator pitch. Provide a Vimeo or YouTube video link pitching your solution (maximum 2-minute video). Your video doesn’t need to be fancy—you could simply record yourself speaking into the camera of a smartphone. Though it’s not required, a video will help our reviewers understand your solution, and we highly recommend you create one. An example of a successful application and its video pitch can be found here. Note: please ensure the video privacy settings are set to public. (YouTube or Vimeo Link)

or upload your own file

Max. size: 512.0 MB

What specific problem are you solving? (Required) Describe the specific problem within the Challenge that you are working to solve. What is the scale of the problem in the communities you are working in, and globally? How many people are affected? Which factors contributing to the problem relate to your solution? Include any relevant local or global statistics. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at these resources at these resources here and here. You can also review answers from successful Fellow applications, such as this one.

What is your solution? (Required) Describe your solution and how it works in simple terms. What is it? What does it do? What processes and technology does it use?

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives? (Required) Describe the target population whose lives you are working to directly and meaningfully improve. Who are they, and in what ways are they currently underserved? What are you doing to understand their needs, and how are you engaging them as you develop the solution? How will the solution address their needs?

Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge. (Required) Alignment to the Challenge is critical to your application’s success. Many solutions are poorly rated by our judges because they either do not align to the Challenge or they fail to convincingly describe how they do. Use this space to explain how the problem, solution, and target population you described above are well-aligned to both the Challenge and your selected dimension. If your solution relates to more than one Challenge dimension, or if you selected Other, you can provide details here.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered? (Required) You must enter a city, town, or region and select it from the dropdown menu.

Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution. (Required) Briefly, justify why the stage of development you selected above is accurate. For example, if you selected Pilot, you may share the name of the community where you are testing your product, service, or business model, and the number of people in that community who are testing it.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution? (Required) For early-stage organizations, the person you identify should be the CEO or Executive Director. If the solution is part of a larger organization, the Team Lead can be the project lead. If your solution is selected as a Finalist, this person will be expected to pitch the solution at Solve Challenge Finals, and if selected as a Solver, they will be the lead participant in the Solver program.

More About Your Solution

If your solution has a website or an app, provide the links here:

If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here: Please ensure the privacy settings are set to public.

or upload your own file

Max. size: 512.0 MB

What makes your solution innovative? Taking an innovative approach is a key criterion for selection. Describe why your solution provides a new or significantly improved approach to the problem. Explain how it could be catalytic: do you expect it to change the market or enable broader positive impacts from others in this space? How?

Describe the core technology that powers your solution. Every successful Solve solution must include technology—whether new or existing—as a key component. If your solution is a new technology or a new application of an existing technology, describe the technology and how it is used. If your solution is a new business model or process, describe how it relies on technology to function. We define technology broadly—it could be hardware or software, digital or manufactured, advanced or low-tech, brand new or traditional/ancestral. (We have selected solutions that involve drones, AI, blockchain, seed technology, ancestral irrigation methods, biodegradable banana fiber sanitary pads, and more.)

Provide evidence that this technology works. Please cite your sources. If your solution utilizes a widely used and accepted technology, describe how and where it’s already used. If it’s a new or less common technology, consider providing a link to an academic paper or some other form of publicly available evidence. If relevant, share a link to a video of a product demo.

Does this technology introduce any risks? How are you addressing or mitigating these risks in your solution? Describe any risks the use of this technology presents and how your solution addresses them. Examples may include privacy or security concerns, or ethical risks as the solution scales.

How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years? Your answer should include three numbers: the current number of people you’re serving, the number you’ll be serving in one year, and the number you’ll be serving in five years. Focus on the number of people that your solution will directly and meaningfully affect. Maximum 250 words

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and -- importantly -- how will you achieve them? We look for solutions that will have a transformational impact on millions of lives. Use this space as an opportunity to describe your impact goals and how you plan to achieve them, whether through your organization or through other approaches to scale, such as replication.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals? Share a few specific, measurable indicators you are using to measure your progress. Ideally, these should be things you are already using to measure and talk about your solution’s progress and impact. If you need more ideas, you may wish to draw from the list of indicators associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals that align with your solution.

About Your Team

How many people work on your solution team? Please provide separate numbers for full-time staff, part-time staff, and contractors or other workers.

How long have you been working on your solution? Please provide the number of years you, your team, or your organization have been working on your solution.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution? Describe your team’s skills, background, and experiences that uniquely position you and your team to deliver the solution and solve the problem. In particular, how have your team’s life and work experiences helped you understand the experiences of those you serve? Share details about how your team is representative of those you serve, and/or how you are meaningfully guided by their input, ideas, and agendas when it comes to the design and implementation of your solution.

What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team? Share specific examples of how your solution’s leadership team embodies the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. You may also use this space to list any tangible goals your team has related to these values, and your plan for achieving them. For more about MIT Solve’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, refer to our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement.

Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Solve aims to connect all Solver teams with partners who can help advance their solutions through monetary and/or non-monetary support. In this section, clearly describe why your solution would benefit from Solve’s help and the resources your team needs to scale.

Keep in mind: while each Solver team receives a $10,000 grant, and though we have brokered over $25 million in commitments for Solver teams and entrepreneurs to date, there is no guarantee that your team will receive additional funding. If your only goal in applying to Solve is to raise funds, Solve is not the right program for you. Please refer to the Become a Solver page on our website for more details on what Solver teams receive.

If you seek additional sources of funding, please consider applying for the following prizes. Prize recipients will be chosen from the cohort of Solver teams that is selected. Note that it is possible to be selected as a Solver team but not receive any prizes, or to receive up to several.

For each prize, carefully review the description and qualification requirements that appear below. Please note:

  • To be eligible for a specific prize, you must meet its qualification requirements. If you do not meet the qualification requirements, you will not be considered for the prize.
  • You must select Yes in the dropdown menu and complete the prize-related question for each prize in order to be considered.
  • You must apply to each prize separately, even if they have similar requirements.
  • Select No for each prize for which you do not wish to be considered.

Why are you applying to Solve? Review the Become a Solver page (“What will I get if my solution is selected?”) for more information about what selected Fellows receive. Also consider referring back to the barriers you mentioned on the “More About Your Solution” page. Which of these barriers can Solve help you overcome, and how? Be as specific as possible.

Please explain in more detail here.

What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them? Potential partners could include organizations, MIT faculty or initiatives, or Solve Members. If you have specific names in mind, please list them. How can they help advance your solution?

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize is open to solutions that directly address the health and well-being of people in the US. The prize is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which aims to raise the health of everyone in the United States by using a health equity lens to place well-being at the center of every aspect of life.

Up to $150,000 will be granted to up to four eligible teams from the Antiracist Tech Challenge, the Indigenous Communities Fellowship, and the Health Security & Pandemics Challenge.