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Tackling 2021 Challenges with MIT Solve

September 17, 2021

After the annual flagship event of Solve MIT at the end of May, where the 2021 Challenges were presented to the global community, on September 17 the Virtual Solve Challenge Finals took place. It’s the premier social impact pitch event, bringing together the new Solver cohort of tech-based innovators with solutions to the 2021 Global Challenges: Digital InclusionAntiracist Technology in the USEquitable ClassroomsResilient Ecosystems, and Health Security & Pandemics.

Over 1,800 applicants from 128 countries submitted their solutions to Solve’s Global Challenges, that are being currently reviewed and selected by the Challenge Leadership Groups. During the Finals event, the 2021 Solver class was announced. The Solver teams will then be joined by more than 400 impact leaders from across the Solve community—such as HP, General Motors, The Nature Conservancy, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and more. Gemma Odena Bulto, MIT Sloan Fellows MBA '22 and Head of Innovation Project Development at Enel Group, participated at the event.

Solve MIT, actively supported by Enel Foundation as a member ever since 2018, was set up six years ago by theMassachusetts Institute of Technology in order to foster and stimulate tech-based social innovation on a global scale. Challenges are presented on an annual basis, addressing the world’s most pressing issues by calling to action all social entrepreneurs with nearly US $2 million in prize funding.

Information and communication technologies have developed dramatically since the late 20th century, permanently disrupting society in all its facets. As access to the online world has become vital to fully participate in global affairs and get a proper education, digital equity must be a common goal. COVID-19 made its value even more apparent, as about 1.5 billion primary and secondary learners have had their education disrupted because of the pandemic and over 265 million children are currently out of school. Energy access is therefore essential for an equitableeducation and it needs solutions to be brought to places where it’s most lacking.

In 2018 the World Bank estimated that only 48% of people in sub-Saharan Africa had access to electricity. A just energy transition in the continent could mean more and better education for everyone, allowing Africans to fully develop their continent’s potential. Open Africa Power was launched for this reason: to train a new generation of responsible leaders in the energy sector and foster a giving-back mechanism in the continent. The program selects every year a cohort of outstanding individuals and educates them on the challenges and opportunities of the power sector, giving them the tools to then carry out sustainable projects in their communities.

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