MIT Solve: A Marketplace for Social Impact Innovation

Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to drive innovation to solve world challenges—it is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. Learn more about Solve’s open challenges, which seek social entrepreneurs who are using technology to solve today’s most pressing problems. Solve challenges span several different programs and areas of focus; learn more below:

Global Challenges

MIT Solve’s Global Challenges fall into four global pillar areas of focus for social impact innovation, plus an annual Indigenous Communities Fellowship, which looks for Indigenous innovators in the US and Canada. Those selected as a Solver team join a nine-month support program, receive access to over $1 million in funding, grants, and investments, join a powerful network of impact-minded leaders, receive coaching and strategic advice from experts, and gain exposure in the media, among many other benefits.

The 2023 Global Challenges – Open Now

  • Financial Inclusion asks: how can we provide financially excluded individuals and small enterprises with the tools they need to withstand financial shocks and build wealth?
  • Health in Fragile Contexts asks: how can we build resilience in health systems and maintain access to care despite destabilizing events?
  • Learning for Civic Action asks: how can all people learn about and take civic action to improve their communities and the world?
  • Climate Adaptation & Low-Carbon Housing asks: how can communities adapt to more extreme weather and create low-carbon housing for all?
  • Indigenous Communities Fellowship asks: how are Indigenous innovators in the US and Canada building upon traditional knowledge and technology to meet the social, environmental, and economic goals of their communities? As part of the Global Challenges, Solve is also opening applications for the sixth annual Indigenous Communities Fellowship, which looks for Indigenous innovators in the US and Canada.

Apply to MIT Solve’s Global Challenges and the Indigenous Communities Fellowship by May 9, 2023.

Custom Challenges

Custom challenges are powered by MIT Solve in collaboration with external organizations to provide prize funding to entrepreneurs and innovators around the world. These social impact innovation challenges are run year-round and often include support programs for finalists and winners. As a part of these custom challenges, Solve facilitates Challenge Design Workshops, focus groups, and 1:1 consultations with experts to design a challenge that is timely and relevant. Anyone, anywhere in the world can submit a solution to open innovation challenges hosted on Solve’s platform.

Custom Challenges – Open Now and Coming Soon

  • The Gender Equity in STEM Challenge is accepting applications through June 2 and asks for solutions that answer the question: how can girls and women reach their full potential and thrive in STEM education and careers in the United States?
  • The 2023 LEAP Challenge opens on March 28 and is seeking organizations that are looking to expand their solutions that answer the question: how can education solutions become more evidence-based?
  • The Horizon Prize 2023 will open on April 10 and this year, is assessing the current rare disease healthcare industry and will seek technology-based solutions that help make industry practices more circular and sustainable – reducing single-use plastic, using alternative packaging materials, and creating better sterilization options.

Solve’s custom challenges roll out year-round, so be sure to keep an eye on the open challenges page to see everything that is currently accepting applications, and what else is opening soon.

How to Submit an Application

Here are three easy steps you can take to submit your application:

  • Step 1: Log in or create an account at mit.edu/login.
  • Step 2: Enter the required information to submit a solution to one of Solve’s Global Challenges or custom challenges. Questions on the “Select A Challenge” and “Solution Overview” pages are required in order to submit your solution.
  • Step 3: Submit your solution. You must click “Submit Solution” in your user dashboard for your solution to be considered for one of Solve’s Global Challenges or custom challenges. This button can only be clicked once all of the required questions are completed; once this happens, the button will turn yellow and you’ll be able to click it to submit your solution. Until then, it will appear gray.

Once you click Submit Solution, your solution will be publicly viewable on Solve’s platform, and you can start receiving comments and feedback from the Solve community. We encourage you to submit as soon as you can—and keep logging in to review any comments and continue editing your solution. It is highly recommended that you answer as many questions as possible before the final submission deadline—this helps the challenge judges better understand your solution.

If you prefer not to Submit immediately, you can click Save Draft & Exit once you complete the required questions.

Solutions Must Be Tech-Based. All eligible solutions must use some form of technology. Solve’s definition of “tech-based” is broad: in addition to AI, blockchain, and virtual reality, Solver teams have leveraged a plant-based fiber that absorbs oil spills, biodegradable sanitary pads, and user-friendly mobile apps.

Applications Must Be in English. Solve encourages applicants from all around the world to apply. However, applications must be written in English. And if you’re invited to pitch your solution at Solve Challenge Finals or another pitch event, you’ll need to present in English.

Learn more about all of Solve’s open challenges and apply HERE.



Learn more at Social Innovation Academy 

Social Innovation Academy is the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.

Why Social Innovation Academy? Social innovation has increasingly come to be perceived as the answer to the rising number of European societal challenges. While the European authorities, leading academics, policy experts, business people and activists agree that social innovation is the key to a better future for Europe and the world, it is extremely difficult for professionals to obtain high-quality training on what social innovation actually offers and, more importantly, how it can be done in practice.

The Social Innovation Academy is aiming to change this situation in Europe and beyond. If you are interested in keeping up with this project, you can subscribe to our newsletter, become one of our friends or follow us on social media (LinkedInTwitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here.



Graphic and text: shared on request of MIT Solve.

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