Are you a problem-solving business or innovator looking for funding to develop your world-improving idea? Check out this regularly updated list of sites that feature innovation challenges offering cash prizes plus other opportunities.
Organizations and governments around the world are looking to fund innovative companies and entrepreneurs who are working on solutions to the world’s big problems. Here’s a list of some of the innovation challenges and contests and other funding opportunities out there. Check back often as we will update this list with new opportunities as we find them.
Challenge.gov: Directory of innovation challenges currently being funded by the US government. I don’t know for sure but my guess is these are available to US residents/applicants only.
Challenge Works: A UK-based organization that runs innovation challenges meant to unlock change and make the world a better place. They have run 86 challenges over the last 10 years with a total prize pot of £215.2M. Explore their current opportunities here.
Ennomotive Open Innovation Challenges: Ennomotive is a company fully dedicated to open innovation for technology projects. Their challenges are meant to help companies, experts and technology startups collaborate in the co-creation of new, more efficient and sustainable products and services. Explore their recent challenges here.
The European Social Innovation Competition: An annual competition for EU residents that is designed to support innovators to develop their ideas into working solutions and facilitate a network of radical innovators shaping our society. Their 2023 challenge was “Fighting Energy Poverty” and you can learn more about it here.
IdeaConnection: A frequently updated list of innovation and invention challenges from all over the world, all with cash awards and prizes. You can subscribe to receive email updates of new challenges as they’re posted. See what’s available now.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Challenges: The Government of Canada offers funding to Canadian small businesses and innovators who are working on novel solutions to challenges. You can see their full list of challenges here.
MIT Solve’s Global Challenges: MIT provides funding and support to social entrepreneurs who are using technology to solve today’s most pressing problems. Those selected as a Solver team will join their nine-month support program, receive access to over $1 million in funding, grants, and investments, and receive coaching and strategic advice from experts. Check out the 2023 finalists here.
NIST Open Innovation Prize Challenges: NIST focuses on advancing public safety communications by leveraging the creativity, expertise, and innovative solutions from a diverse array of contributors and collaborators across the globe through financial awards and incentive-based activities.
OpenIDEO Open Innovation Challenges: OpenIDEO believes that “to solve today’s complex problems, there need to be better ways to come together, share ideas, and coordinate action around the globe.” They post a big game-changing challenge about once a year. The challenge for 2023 was a Climate Resiliency Challenge calling for “bold, innovating solutions to build climate resiliency for and with frontline communities.” You can learn more and see the winners here.
Open Innovation Network: A directory of challenges proposed by companies or agencies inviting solutions from innovators, startups, or enterprises working on solutions to the world’s problems. A collaboration between Enterprise Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and open to innovators in Singapore and beyond.
Open Innovation Scotland: An online marketplace where organizations looking for solutions can post a challenge and innovators can find funding for their projects.
Open Innovation Platform: Launches a new Innovation Call every few months, each comprising a set of challenges posted by “Problem Owners” in different sectors. Innovators and then invited to submit their solutions, with the winning solutions receiving prize money and support. Explore their current challenges here.
Work On Climate: The world’s largest and most successful community for people who want to find climate jobs or start companies geared to finding climate solutions. Their stated goal is “to connect everyone with purposeful work that heals the planet, getting hundreds of millions of people to contribute their talent to fixing climate change.” They have a lot of resources geared to climate opportunity seekers on their site, such as their “Climate Careers,” “Climate Solutions,” and “Climate Support” Starter Kits.