Who is eligible?

If you are working on any technology, service or product offering a solution to a problem defined below under Big Problems or Sponsored Challenge Topics, we would welcome you to join us this summer in Turkey.

The founders we are looking for are Passionate, Productive and Patient. We are open for application from all international or local teams with a focus on commercialising their inventions and ideas and building sustainable business models.

Current NGOs that are willing to dedicate time to test social business models inside their organizations or build outside spin-offs would also be eligible to apply to the pre-accelerator.

The call will be open to founders at multiple stages:

  • Founders of established (registered) companies
  • To be Founders of startups (not yet committed but have a history & expertise in the areas)
  • Technology developers who are working on the field but would commercialize through IP Transfer
  • Research and Design Institutes and Universities with relevant technology to commercialize

The applicants having an already existing product and service in preferable challenge areas such as the Digital ID infrastructure for refugees, or a prototype that focuses on providing a non-sewage portable toilet and sanitation solutions, will be evaluated with priority.

What’s in it for you?

The SDGia will provide a cash grant for teams that are at early stages and include them in the international SGDia pre-accelerator.  During the pre-accelerator, teams will have the opportunity to make one field trip to see the problem firsthand through challenge sponsors.

Graduates of the pre-accelerator will be admitted to a mentor-led/partner-backed Impact Accelerator designed by SDGia, and receive additional cash grants to perfect their solutions, test their products in the market with a no strings attached cash award up to 10,000$. The alumni of the SDGia, will be shortlisted for the SDGiaF (SDG Impact Accelerator Fund) for a social  impact investment up to 100,000$. One founder from each team in the pilot cohorts, will also be eligible to be included as guests to showcase their progress and technology in the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of September 2019.

Selection Criteria & Preferred Mixes

Teams with Multiple Co-Founders over Individuals (Inventors with a proven track record are welcomed)

Startups with Existing Products/Services in the market over Ideas (prototypes are welcomed)

Internationally Scalable Business Models preferred over small localities (country specific welcomed)

Addressing the Big Problems (as defined below) preferred over a country-specific local problem

New Innovation (business model or technology) preferred over only a technological invention

The Big Problems we are looking solutions for:

The Summer ‘19 cohort will focus on two general topics with each one having preferred sub topics led by challenge owners, namely UNDP, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eczacıbaşı Holding.

Big Problem 1: Livelihood Opportunities and Access to Basic Services

We aim to provide access to basic services and enhance livelihood opportunities especially to  selected vulnerable groups like refugees through solutions that utilize technology and scalable business models.

An estimated 1.1 billion people, including many millions of children, women, and refugees, globally lack any form of officially recognized identification. Identity is not only critical in accessing to basic services and being able to travel, but also a key enabler for accessing economic opportunities and avoiding discrimination. Without an identity, individuals are often invisible – unable to vote, access healthcare, avail of legal services, open a bank account, or receive an education – and bear a higher risk for trafficking. As mentioned also specifically in SDG Target 16.9, providing legal identity including birth certificates is a challenge not only for countries in stress but also developing economies that migration flows into.

Refugees are particularly at risk, as they often arrive in new host countries with inadequate formal identification and spend considerable time and effort attempting to reestablish formal documentation. Furthermore, refugees are mobile, and typically, they are not able to use the credentials they do manage to accumulate in one country in another one. This means they must start from scratch every time they arrive at a new destination.

Big Problem 2: Clean Water and Sanitation

Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people and a majority of the natural inhabitants of water zones. More and more countries are experiencing water stress, and increasing drought and desertification is already worsening these trends. Safe and affordable drinking water for all requires investing inadequate infrastructure, sanitation facilities, and encouraging hygiene. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems is essential for the continuation of life on this planet.

Globally one in three people live without access to proper sanitation. In other words, 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines. Water and sanitation related diseases remain among the major causes of death in children under five; more than 800 children die every day from diarrhoeal diseases linked to poor hygiene. To improve sanitation, there needs to be increased investment in sanitation facilities on a local level. As specially mentioned in SDG Target 6.2 achieving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all is a fundamental area we are looking solutions to.

Any solution tested by a specific country usually lacks transferability of the solutions due to lack of communication and structures built to help the innovators access new clients, resources and partners. The challenge is seeking founders and innovators that will be targeting to find methods to scale the solutions to new countries as well as find business model applications through the networks built by the SDGia Partners. As mentioned clearly in SDG Target 6.A, expanding international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies will be a major area of solutions we are expecting founders to work.

Timeline & Ask from Founders

Applications are open until June 24. The pre-accelerator bootcamp is planned to be held on 6th and 7th of July. The graduation from the pre-accelerator to the accelerator is scheduled for 30th July with the Demo Day scheduled in 13th September 2019.

We are requesting the founders to be available to participate to the bootcamps, field visits and mentor roundtables as well as the demo days that will mostly be held in Turkey. Teams are not requested to be in Turkey full time but encouraged to. The cash awards may be used as the founders wish, there won’t be any limitations or supervision. The terms of the Impact Investment opportunity will be negotiated with the founders.