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UNICEF Innovation Fund to Invest in Early-stage AI and ML Startups

UNICEF Innovation Fund looking for startups with chatbots to provide personalized help for children, teachers and healthcare. (FILE PHOTO: UNICEF Innovation Fund)

UNICEF Innovation Fund looking for startups with chatbots to provide personalized help for children, teachers and healthcare. (FILE PHOTO: UNICEF Innovation Fund)

The UNICEF Innovation Fund has begun accepting applications from early-startups using Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), or data science technologies to build software solutions that;

  1. Are creating platforms for personalized services or are providing tools to automate processes and decision-making.
  2. Are building tools to optimize system performance for greater access to and delivery of services or trying to generate new insights from data.
  3. Are generating and curating data for any of the above.
The Challenge

Nearly 4 billion people remain unconnected from the internet, and by extension unconnected to digital products that could dramatically improve their lives. And now the Covid-19 crisis has put a spotlight on the digital divide within/between countries and regions, making access to digital platforms and services a key priority.

The world is facing a learning crisis. More children and youth than ever before are enrolled in school – but some remain out of school and are not developing the skills they need to break out of poverty. Quality of and access to education and skills-development opportunities are limited – especially for the most marginalized children and young people, including girls, and children with disabilities.

The pandemic has also further exacerbated inequities in access to public health and healthcare services for children. While children appear to be largely spared the direct mortality impacts of COVID-19, the indirect effects stemming from strained health systems threaten to reverse decades of progress. Now more than ever, we need to accelerate impact in health, including childhood immunizations, to make sure children and adolescents survive and thrive and reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The growth of technology and online tools means we can deliver learning, health, and psycho-social support opportunities anywhere, at any time. Thus, calling on startup founders to apply for the fund and provide solutions to solve the challenge above.

Only early-stage startups registered in UNICEF’s program countries, and have a working open-source prototype (or you are willing to make it open-source) and showing promising results are eligible for the UNICEF Innovation Fund. The core motivation of the fund is to identify “clusters” or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology – so that UNICEF can both share markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children.

The fund is looking to make up to USD$100,000 (approx. UGX355.5 million) equity-free investments that they will provide to selected startups that have the potential to benefit humanity.

UNICEF calls for interested applicants to submit their applications not later than August 2nd, 2021. Female-founded startups are highly encouraged to apply. To apply for the opportunity, FOLLOW THE LINK.

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