Tech Competitions Offer Money to Stir Community-Focused Innovation

October 3, 2014

5:20 pm

Nothing like a challenge to get some great minds going. This week two foundations have launched national challenges aimed at creating innovative solutions to help local communities.

The Knight Foundation announced the Knight Cities Challenge to offers applicants a chance to share in $5 million by focusing on the question, “What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?” The organization is looking for a solution that is not only new, but also creates opportunities and engagement of a local community. The challenge runs from Oct. 1 until 5 p.m. Eastern Time Nov. 14, 2014  for all  26 Knight Foundation communities.


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Also announced this week is the Voto Latino Innovators Challenge for Millennials, a partnership between the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Google and Voto Latino. The Challenge is intended to cultivate a pool of Latino tech talent and find innovative solutions to problems in the Latino community.

Each proposed project submitted for the tech competition must address a need or challenge in the Latino community and must include a new tech tool to solve that challenge. Winners will be granted $500,000 to 10-15 tech projects that help solve issues in the Latino community. Applications may incorporate any technology — mobile apps, websites, computer apps and programs, social networking platforms, low-cost handheld devices, etc. — and must address any community issue, great or small.

“Over fifty percent of the world’s population is under the age of 30, yet those perspectives and creative juices have been historically separated from sources of funding and attention. That has been changing over the last decade, and the Voto Latino Innovators Challenge marks a continuation in the effort to help young innovators not only dream up great solutions and execute on their ideas, but – most importantly– achieve transformative scale. I am humbled and excited to be a part of this effort and look forward to many great applications!” said Natalia Martinez,  Dean & Founder of Awesome Foundation Miami, who will be helping select the winners of Voto Latino’s VL Innovators Challenge this year. Applications are accepted until October 15, 2014 (the final day of Hispanic Heritage Month).

Get those ideas going and apply!



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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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