Applications Open Now Through January 29, 2021, at 5 pm PT!
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Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021

$1 Million USD in Prizes

Calling All #TechForGood Startups

How can your early-stage innovative technology solution solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems?

The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 is a worldwide search for early-stage technology solutions and services that can enable economic development and/or benefit society and/or the environment. 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.

Register to Participate

You can participate as an individual, as part of a team, or as a business entity. Teams may have a maximum of 5 members. If you are registering as part of a team, your team leader will need to register first and then can invite you to register as a member of the team, using your email address. For detailed eligibility requirements, please review the rules. Once you are ready, click here to register.

Prepare your Submission

There will be two distinct submission rounds.

Round one opens October 27, 2020 and closes January 29, 2021, at 5:00 pm PT. To prepare your submission, you will need to complete an online questionnaire which will cover the following topics:

  • Defining the problem you are solving
  • Explaining the solution, including:
    • Its benefits and how it uses IoT or digital technologies
    • How it is unique and will be taken to market
    • Risks associated with the solution
  • 90-second pitch video explaining the solution

Once you are ready, click here to register (or log in) and prepare your submission. 

Submit Your Solution

Once you’ve prepared and double-checked all your materials, be sure to login and submit them. You must upload all materials and submit them before January 29, 2021, at 5 pm PT. Remember, you must click submit before the deadline in order for your entry to be considered. 

Please check your entry for completeness and ensure your video does not exceed 90 seconds. Also, do not use unlicensed images, music, or video content in your submission. 

Judges evaluate submissions and are looking for ideas that are especially innovative and clearly articulate the use of technology, feasibility, and scale of impact.

On March 30, 2021, Semi-Finalists will be invited via email to submit a more detailed proposal. The round two application window opens March 30, 2021 and closes April 23, 2021, at 5 pm PT. 

In addition to the information provided in round one, the online round two questionnaire for Semi-Finalists will include the following sections:

  • Problem and solution summary explanation
  • Detailed technical overview of solution
  • Dependencies
  • Timeline for next 12-24 months
  • Addressable Market
  • Financial model
  • Team bios

If you are selected as a Semi-Finalist, be sure that your team leader logs in to the Challenge website before the April 23, 2021, 5 pm PT deadline to double check all of the materials and click submit in order to be considered for the final round.

Be sure to check that your content meets the submission guidelines, or your entry may be disqualified. It's also important to check for completeness, appropriate content, video length, and unlicensed images, music, or video. If your round two application is not submitted by the deadline, it will not be considered. 

Vote and Promote

If you are selected as a Finalist, we recommend that you share your participation in the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2021 with your supporters and invite them to vote for their favorite entries. Voting for the People’s Choice Award takes place from June 2 - 18, 2021.

Celebrate the Winners

Once the submission period closes our judges will begin evaluating the submissions, looking for solutions that are especially innovative and which clearly articulate their use of technology, feasibility and scale of impact. Winners will be announced on June 29, 2021!