Massachusetts Institute of Technology SOLVE in the USA invites applications from entrepreneurs worldwide for the Early Childhood Development Challenge in 2019.

Inadequate early childhood development exacerbates inequality and reduces economic growth. If children do not reach their optimum development—socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively—by the time they enter school, it could mean earning around one-quarter less in income as an adult. If every child in their earliest years receives the quality, affordable support and care to develop the learning and cognitive skills they need to reach their full potential, we can help level the playing field and set them—and our societies—up for a more equitable and prosperous future.


The first few years of life represent the crucial window of peak brain development where more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second. Yet, millions of children under the age of five—including 250 million in low- and middle-income countries—are at risk of falling behind in their developmental growth due to extreme poverty, lack of early stimulation and learning, poor nutrition, and exposure to violence and neglect. This is particularly true of those most vulnerable to the stress experienced in humanitarian emergencies and conflict settings, which can lead to physical, mental, and behavioral issues in adulthood. Even in developed countries such as the United States, a child who enters kindergarten unprepared is 25 percent more likely to dropout of high school and 60 percent more likely not to go to college.

Children succeed when provided with quality nutrition, protective home environments, opportunities for social and physical exploration, and cognitive stimulation through positive play and responsive caregiver-to-child interactions. In fact, research shows 13 percent in societal returns when communities invest in comprehensive and high-quality early education for children under five. The time is now, and the responsibility is ours to guarantee all children in their earliest years receive the nurturing care, development, and learning they need for bright futures.

Worth of Award

  • All solutions selected for Solve’s four current Global Challenges will receive a $10,000 grant funded by Solve.
  • In addition to Solve funding, Solver teams who also fulfil the criteria below are eligible for the following prizes and partnerships. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Early Childhood Development Challenge:
  • AI Innovations Prize: Solutions that are propelled by advanced computing techniques or that leverage artificial intelligence to address the Challenge are eligible for the AI Innovations Prize.Up to $500,000 will be granted across several recipients selected for the prize.
  • Innovation for Women Prize: Solutions that use innovative technology to improve the quality of life for women and girls are eligible for the Innovation for Women Prize. Up to $75,000 will be granted across up to three Solver teams selected to receive the prize.
  • Innospark Ventures Prize: The Innospark Ventures Prize is open to AI-based solutions from across the cybersecurity, education, healthcare, life sciences, and business services sectors focused in the United States. Up to $100,000 will be granted to up to four eligible Solver teams from across any of Solve’s current Global Challenges.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation will host representatives of up to four of the teams who are awarded an AI-focused prize (the AI Innovations Prize or the Innospark Ventures Prize) at its high-level summit on AI taking place at its Bellagio Center on Lake Como, Italy, in October 2019.


Solve is seeking technology-based solutions that improve learning and cognitive outcomes for children under the age of five that:

  • Reduce barriers to healthy physical, mental, and emotional development for all children, particularly among vulnerable populations and those affected by conflict;
  • Enable parents and caregivers to support their children’s overall development and provide positive and safe surroundings;
  • Promote exploration, early literacy skills, and language experimentation in preparation for primary school; and
  • Decrease inequalities, including stereotypes and discrimination based on gender, religion, race, or class, among children beginning at birth.


  • Alignment: The solution addresses the challenge that has been set forth using technology.
  • Potential for Impact: The planned implementation of the solution has the potential to impact lives.
  • Scalability: The solution can be grown and scaled to affect the lives of more people.
  • Feasibility: It is feasible to implement the solution, and the team has a plan for the solution to sustain itself financially.
  • Innovative Approach: This is a new technology, a new application of a technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the challenge
  • Partnership Potential: The applicant clearly explains how the solution would benefit from the broad range of resources that the Solve community is positioned to provide.

How to Apply

You can submit your solution through the application link on their website

Deadline: deadline to apply is July 1, 2019.


Click here for more details and to apply

Subscribe to our newsletter!
Clicking "Subscribe me" is successful, even if you don't see any confirmation here