The COVID-19 pandemic has switched at least twenty years of improvement for women and girls. The pandemic has overwhelmed healthcare systems and supply chains worldwide, derailing advances in sustainable development.
At the same time, the pandemic has also catalyzed the acceleration of innovation, including in the booming healthcare technology market. Startup owners can leverage the advantage of smartphone application through dedicated top Flutter app development companies like Flutter Agency.
We welcome innovative solutions that empower women and girls. And focus on ending unmet needs for family planning, preventable maternal deaths, gender-based violence, and harmful practices. Companies interested in the challenge must demonstrate that they address a consequential requirement. And that their solutions are grown with users.
In this circumstance, the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), and the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). All are launching the Innovation Challenge for the Empowerment of Women. And Girls (the challenge) to develop and grow big position-scale innovative solutions. That can help reduce inequalities and empower women. And girls in all their diversity.
The challenge will support women-centric innovations, including-
(i) Provide affordable and sustainable access to essential reproductive health products, services, and information. With a focus on inaccessible areas and humanitarian settings, and
(ii) Improve prevention and response to gender-based violence and harmful practices.
The Challenge of Innovation
UNFPA, in partnership with WIPO and ITU, will implement this common challenge. Partners will select up to 10 winning entries from the companies that submit them. And award grants of up to $60,000 per Position-to-Scale award.
Once the winners are selected, the winning companies will sign a 9-month contract during which the winners will develop. And begin implementing their transition plans at scale. And receive technical support in priority areas, including intellectual property (IP) management and the business model.
WIPO will provide intellectual property management assistance tailored to each of the winners. It includes lectures, tutorials, and interactive workshops. And is- based on WIPO’s IP diagnostic and analysis tools.
ITU will provide the training ground for the winners, provide mentoring, and support scaling. And using its initiatives on ecosystem development, sustainability, and scaling frameworks.
The following criteria will use in evaluating the eligibility of proposals submitted for consideration:
- The association must register as a company/organization in a UNFPA program country.
- At the time of application, the company includes any member of the Joint Venture/Consortium and its members. The United Nations Security Council is not subject to any recruitment prohibition as a result of- the collection of sanctions lists. And it has not suspended, expelled, sanctioned, or otherwise identified as unacceptable by any United Nations organization or the World Bank Group.
- The innovation must implement in the UNFPA program country where the company is registered.
- The proposed innovation must contribute to one of the following challenges: ending the unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal mortality, or ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.
- The company should already have tested a prototype and a proof of concept. And have a tested minimum viable product (MVP) ready to scale. The MVP must belong to the sending organization.
- The innovative solution must demonstrate a viable path to scale and sustainability through the market or public sector (definition according to the UN Innovation Toolkit: Driving adoption beyond the original target group of the pilot project).
- Either there should be no similar solution to the proposed solution. Or the proposed solution has a higher development impact per dollar or is more cost-effective than other means of achieving the same goals. There must be evidence to reinforce this assertion.
- Proposals must offer innovative solutions that empower women and girls. And focus on ending unmet needs for family planning, preventable maternal mortality, or gender-based violence.
In addition to the eligibility criteria, priority will give to solutions submitted by women-led businesses. However, the call is open to all social enterprises working on solutions. That addresses problems in priority areas (eliminating the unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal mortality, etc.). And ending gender-based violence, gender violence, and harmful practices.
Only one submission per applicant company is allowed. All submissions must be in English only. Applicant companies must provide proof of their legitimate registration. And the assurance that early customers are using their solution.
Expected Results and Next Steps
Through this challenge, UNFPA aspires to partner with and sustain social enterprises. And the ecosystems in which they operate. The challenge will expand UNFPA’s experience and portfolio in positioning innovation at scale. Furthermore, by combining financial investment and business mentoring. This challenge is an additional step to moving from purely grant models. To self-sustaining economic models- through mentoring, coaching, and innovation in management. Our journey with challenge winners does not end with the culmination of the 9-month support phase.
We intend to encourage and support companies to continue their partnerships. UNFPA, along with country offices, monitor progress as they remain in their transition to scale. And encourage companies as intellectual and innovative partners in their ecosystems. So that they can share best practices and experiences can exchange future.
Following a successful outcome of the evaluation process, the UNFPA-WIPO-ITU Joint Innovation Challenge aims to reward the proposals with the 10-highest scores. The awards are- presented by their designated representatives and includes:
- Invitation to participate in virtual boot camp to refine your plans. And project design roadmap milestones (example: go-to-market, implementation, and impact traction).
- Seed funding of up to $60,000 is- provided in two phases for positions. And scale the proposed solution under the project design plan. There was a consensus among the organizers during the boot camp with an adequate budget. And action plan with clear milestones and budget allocation. The second tranche of the award is awarded based on proven implementation progress and achievement of milestones.
UNFPA will fund and co-design the cooperative challenge (with input from both partners). And provide oversight and management for the announcement of calls for proposals. Pick the finalists and overall implementation of the challenge. UNFPA country offices will support the challenge by evaluating proposals and helping to track winners’ progress. And – providing technical assistance and capacity building.
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