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Who can enter?
Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aims to recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from early-stage entrepreneurs around the world. Our goal is to advance early-stage projects that are beyond the concept or idea formation stage, but which have not yet generated over $1M USD in funding and/or revenue. Applicants may be nonprofit or for-profit business entities, or they may not yet have formed a legal business entity. For detailed eligibility requirements, please click here.
Can I enter as part of a team?
Yes. A team may have up to 5 team members. If you are registering as part of a team, your team leader will need to register first and can then invite others to register as members of the team. For detailed eligibility requirements, please click here.
When do I need to submit my application?
You or your team leader need to complete and submit all the application materials before the deadline on January 29, 2021, at 5 pm PT. For the complete rules, please click here.
What do I need to do in order to apply?
You need to register on our online platform, complete an online questionnaire, and upload required documentation including a 90 second pitch video. For more details on the submission process, please click here.
Can I revise my submission?
Yes, you may revise your submission content (online questions and uploaded files) and resubmit at any time up until the deadline of January 29, 2021, 5:00 pm PT.
What are the prizes?
The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 is offering $1,000,000 USD split among 20 prizes. For more details, please see the Prizes page.
Who will determine the winners?A team of industry and subject-matter experts from within and outside of Cisco will evaluate each entry based on its integration of digital technologies, level of innovation, and technical and business feasibility including likelihood of sustainability, impact, and clarity to determine the winning solutions.
When can I vote for my favorites?There will be a public voting period from June 2 - 18, 2021. When voting begins, the video pitches and short overviews provided by the Finalists will be shared publicly during the People’s Choice Award voting period. The Finalist with the highest number of votes on June 18, 2021 at 5 pm will receive the People’s Choice Award and $10,000 USD.
Who can vote for the People’s Choice Award?
Anyone can vote and you can vote for as many teams as you wish during the public voting period from June 2 - 18, 2021. Every voter will have to register with a valid name and social media account (Facebook or Google) in order to log in to cast their vote.
What will happen to my solution?
At the end of the challenge your solution will still belong to you and your team. For more information, please review the terms and conditions here.
Why was my entry disqualified?
If your entry does not meet the submission requirements, violates the terms and conditions, contains inappropriate content, or if you or your team did not provide appropriate proof of eligibility, your submission will be disqualified. You will not receive notice of disqualification until the end of the submission process. If you have any question or doubts about what is acceptable please review the rules. If you still have a question, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will the winners be announced?
Finalists will be announced June 2, 2021, and the winners of the Challenge will be announced on June 29, 2021.
What are the judging criteria?
The judging panel will make their selection based on the content of the submissions and using the following criteria:
1. Innovative Internet of Things (IoT) or digital technology solution: How innovative is the solution in its use of new or existing technology to solve a local or global problem? Are there other solutions available and if so, how does this differentiate from them? (33%)
2. Feasibility: How feasible is the solution to put into practice? Does the solution make sense financially? Will the solution be sustainable over the long term? (24%)
3. Impact: What is the scale of potential social impact? How broad is the impact? How many people will your solution reach? How significant is the impact? (33%)
4. Clarity: How well do you articulate your solution and the potential impact it will have on society? (10%)
Can I submit an application in a language other than English?
No, all entries in their entirety must be submitted in English, as outlined in the rules. Pitch videos may be filmed in a language other than English, but must then have English text captions added. Entries not submitted in English are subject to disqualification.
Are all countries/provinces eligible to participate?
This Contest is not open to individuals in the province of Quebec in Canada. In addition, residents of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Sudan are not eligible to participate. This Contest is void in these countries and where otherwise prohibited or restricted by law. For detailed eligibility requirements, please review the rules.
If my solution is already a legal business entity, can I participate?
Yes. Business entity participants must enter the contest on behalf of their legal business organization. An entry submitted by a business entity participant must designate one individual member as the Team Leader for contact and contest administrative purposes. The Team Leader will be responsible for submitting the entry on behalf of the business entity. Any individual who is employed by a business entity participant may not submit an entry in his or her individual capacity (i.e., as an Individual Participant).
For detailed eligibility requirements, please visit our Rules page.
Can I participate in the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge as a high school student?
In order to be eligible for the challenge, you must be at least 18 years of age at the time of registration. For detailed eligibility requirements, please visit our Rules page.
Can I participate in the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge if I am under 18 years of age?
No, in order to be eligible for the challenge, you must be at least 18 years of age at the time of registration.
If I am an intern or contractor/vendor working for Cisco, can I participate?
No. Cisco employees, interns, contracted vendors, and their immediate household or family members are excluded from this challenge. For detailed eligibility requirements, please review the rules.
What stage of development is eligible?
Our goal is to advance early-stage projects that are beyond the concept or idea formation stage, but which have not yet generated over $1M USD in funding/revenue. We look for projects with a dedicated team that are beyond the idea formation stage, and that have completed a proof of concept for the core functionality of the product/service at a minimum. Projects that are further along are more likely to score higher on the “Feasibility” criteria. Below are the stages of development we reference:
Idea Formation Stage: The stage at which you have come up with an idea and are thinking about different sub-ideas related to the main idea. You may also begin sharing your idea(s) and plans with others for feedback to advance to the next stage of development, a proof of concept.
Proof of Concept (POC): Proof of concept is a technical exercise to demonstrate that your idea CAN be developed and is operationally feasible. Ideally, your POC verifies with evidence the core part of the whole system and not just one secondary part within the working system.
Working Prototype: While the POC demonstrates with evidence that it CAN be done, the working prototype shows HOW it can be done, how it might look, and how it will be used. It is a model of the system that allows stakeholders and testers an experience of the product/service.
In Beta/Trials: Your prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is being tested/trialed or is in beta with a potential user group/customer segment.
Product Market Fit: Your product/service is being offered in the marketplace and is proving out the business model with new and repeat customers.
Growth: In this stage, you are increasing the scope and scale of the business model by using suitable mechanisms of marketing, sales and sales channels, and by choosing a suitable engine of growth
I have a question that isn't answered here. How can I get help?
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