Apply Now: Applications Invited for Gender-Responsive Innovation Challenge

Organization: UNICEF

Apply By: 24 May 2024

About the Organization

UNICEF works in the world’s toughest places to reach the most disadvantaged children and adolescents – and to protect the rights of every child, everywhere. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we do whatever it takes to help children survive, thrive and fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

The world’s largest provider of vaccines, we support child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality education and skill building, HIV prevention and treatment for mothers and babies, and the protection of children and adolescents from violence and exploitation.

About the Challenge

The UNICEF Venture Fund is committed to diversity and inclusion in its approach to early-stage investing and catalyzing novel innovations developed by startups leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data science (DS), drones, blockchain, or extended reality (XR). These innovations aim to address the unmet needs of marginalized and underserved children and their families.

In collaboration with GITEX Africa, the Venture Fund launches The Gender- Responsive Innovation Challenge (GRIC).

Recognizing structural and systemic barriers in the technology sector which lead to the dominance of certain types of solutions and founders, the UNICEF Venture Fund is seeking to facilitate an inclusive and gender-responsive innovation in three key areas:

Area 1: Investing in diverse and underrepresented founders (especially women founders)
Area 2: Increasing the availability of digital products and services that can solve the specific unmet needs of vulnerable and underrepresented populations (such as children, women, people living with disabilities and refugees)
Area 3: Facilitating inclusive user design in the development of innovation to
The GRIC is an opportunity to recognise companies leading the way for developing gender-responsive solutions and/or businesses in Africa. Its primary objective is to identify, recognise and invest in companies facilitating outcomes that can help close the gender gap.


Companies will receive mentorship and technical assistance from Venture Fund experts to enhance their investment readiness and potential for future funding from the Venture Fund. It will comprise:

10 hours of technical mentoring consisting of Open Source, business development, frontier technology, software development, diversity, equity, and inclusion mentorship,
Additional support to understand and navigate the Venture Fund sourcing and selection process.

The Venture Fund is particularly seeking solutions that:

Address challenges to accelerate results for children.
Are optimized for low-resource environments (e.g., low connectivity, limited mobile access).
Focus on reducing, rather than widening, inequalities.
Are able to deliver in multiple languages, including smaller languages.
How to Apply

Application deadline: 11:59 PM (CET), 24 May

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