What is the She Innovates Solve Prize?
Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), advances lasting solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address the world's most pressing problems. Solve issues four Global Challenges each year across four areas—Economic Prosperity, Health, Learning, and Sustainability to find the most promising Solver teams who will drive transformational change. Solve then deploys its global community of private, public, and nonprofit leaders to form the partnerships these Solver teams need to scale their impact.
Why is it needed?
Women tend to be more hesitant to describe themselves as entrepreneurs or innovators, and to put their ideas forward. Yet every year we see the percentage of applications submitted by women on the Solve platform steadily increase. We know that the #sheinnovates prize will shed yet more light on the topic, encouraging even more women to come to the fold. Our Solver Classes have 52% women-led solutions.
why we came together
In 2017, Solve partnered with the UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change. With this group of 22 corporations already devoted to supporting women innovators, it was easy to find common ground.
As a first step in its partnership, UN Women GICC and Solve put together the #sheinnovates award. The award will go to women-led Solver teams, and shed further light on the women innovators solving challenges they face in their community with ingenuity, creativity, and resilience.
Through the Solve community, Solver teams earn global media exposure, with spotlights in publications such as Reuters India and speaking engagements at conferences such as Forbes 30U30, UN Women Summit, and MIT’s Women UN Conference. Solve connects them with the financial and in-kind resources they need to grow, and brokers partnerships with corporations, foundations, nonprofits, and MIT affiliates.
Annie Cannons transforms survivors of human trafficking into thriving software professionals through a holistic coding bootcamp that teaches in-demand tech skills, then provides them with steady project-based work through a development shop.
Saathi developed the world’s first 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pad, made from otherwise wasted banana tree fiber. Manufacturing is localized, creating jobs and providing additional income to farmers and suppliers. This sustainable model eliminates the perceived trade-off between women’s welfare and environmental protection.
What are the benefits?
The #sheinnovates award addresses multiple hurdles faced by women entrepreneurs and innovators:
It encourages them to take part and apply to a platform like Solve
It provides them with the crucial, flexible capital they need to scale
It sheds light on the critical role that they play in the innovation landscape, addressing the global challenges facing challenges their community