The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is including and inviting blockchain technology startups to apply for its ‘Innovation Fund’ with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of vulnerable children around the world.
UNICEF’s recently established Innovation Fund is calling for technology startups to apply for funding with ideas and solutions with the potential to “improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.”
Founded in 1946, UNICEF has been synonymous in its role for the cause of supporting children in need around the world. The Innovation Fund was launched in 2015, bringing together models of financing and methodologies used by venture capital funds to invest in open source technologies that will benefit children in need.
The Innovation Fund has raised $9 million so far and focuses its investments in three areas, specifically:
- Products for youth under 25 addressing several needs including learning and youth participation.
- Real-time information (technology-empowered) for decision-making; and
- The necessary infrastructure to increase access to services and information including utilities, finance, transport and more.
In a media release, Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Co-Lead stated:
These three areas are ripe for investment due to rapidly changing technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, wearables and sensors, artificial intelligence and renewable energy.
The Fund has previously invested in technology solutions such as RapidSM – a free and open source SMS framework; RapidPro – an open source product that allows adopters to build and scale mobile services anywhere in the world; and U-Report – a social messaging tool open for anyone, anywhere in the world. These services already count millions of users as adopters.
“We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children,” Fabian added.
UNICEF’s Innovation Fund requires projects applying for grants to possess a working prototype and be open source.
The deadline for submissions is February 26, 2016. Additional information for interested startups can be found here.
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