7 days left for the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2020

Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2020 on Techiewave.com - Tech tips, news and hacks

Opportunity in brief

Type: Funding
Eligible Countries: World Wide
Sponsor: CISCO
Deadline: January 17, 2020 at 5pm PT.
Prizes: Different categories ranging from ($5,000 to $100,000)

Cisco seeks to inspire and empower a generation of global problem solvers who will not only survive – but drive and thrive – in our increasingly digital economy.

The fourth annual Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aims to recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from student entrepreneurs around the world. This Challenge is open to students and recent alumni from any college or university.

$350,000 USD in prize money will help accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.

Why participate?

In addition to a cash infusion to develop your solution, it will be reviewed by Cisco technology experts and high-profile judges. You’ll receive peer and industry validation for your solution, as well as have a great opportunity for global recognition and publicity.

Apply to participate if:

Your solution uses digital technology to positively impact society or the environment.

Areas of impact include, but are not limited to, critical human needs like water or food security, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, accessibility, and the environment.

Timeline for the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2020

Applications Open: October 15, 2019
Applications Close: January 17, 2020 at 5pm PT
Semi-Finalists Invited to Submit: March 11, 2020
Semi-Finalist Submissions Close: April 3, 2020 at 5pm PT
Finalists Announced and People’s Choice Voting Opens: May 5, 2020
People’s Choice Voting Closes: May 22, 2020
Winners Announced: May 27, 2020


Eligible participants:

To be eligible, at least half of the team’s members must be students currently enrolled at a post-secondary institution or have received a degree after March 1, 2018. If entering as a business entity, at least 25% of the business must be owned by individuals that meet the above qualifications. Individual students and recent grads may also apply.

Eligible solutions (technologies, products or services):

Incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) or digital technologies as part of the solution
Have a positive social, environmental, or economic impact (e.g. health, education, accessibility, critical human needs (food, water, disaster response/recovery, safety, etc.)


  • $100,000 USD Grand Prize: A single team will be designated the grand prize winner.
  • $75,000 USD First Runner-Up: A single team will be designated first runner-up.
  • $25,000 USD Second Runners-Up: 3 teams will be designated the second runners-up and will receive $25,000 USD each.
  • $10,000 USD Third Runners-Up: 4 teams will be designated the third runners-up and will receive $10,000 USD each.
  • $10,000 USD People’s Choice: The finalist entry that receives the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.

India Impact Prizes

  • $25,000 USD India Impact Grand Prize: A single team will be designated the India Impact grand prize winner.
  • $10,000 USD India Impact Runners-Up: 2 teams will be designated runners-up and will receive $10,000 USD each.
  • $5,000 USD India Impact People’s Choice: The finalist entry that receives the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.

How to participate

You can participate as an individual, as part of a team (maximum of 5 members), or as a business entity.

If you are registering as part of a team, your team leader will need to register first and then you can register using your email address. For detailed eligibility requirements, please visit the Rules page.

Once you are set to “Apply”, click the button at the bottom of this page to register.

Preparing your Submission

Round 1:

Opens October 15, 2019 and closes January 17, 2020 at 5:00 pm PST. To prepare your submission you will need to complete an online questionnaire, which will cover the following topics:

  • Define the problem you are solving
  • Explain the solution, including:
    • Its benefits and how it uses IoT or digital technologies
    • How it is unique and will be taken to market
    • Risks associated with the solution
  • 90-second pitch video of team member(s) explaining the solution
  • Additional supporting documentation:
    • Contact information for faculty advisor
    • Proof of eligibility (student or degree status)

Submitting Your Solution

Once you’ve prepared and double-checked all your materials, have your team leader log onto the Challenge website here. You must upload all materials and submit them before January 17, 2020 at 5pm PT. Remember, you must click submit before the deadline in order for your entry to be considered.

Please check your entry for completeness and ensure your video does not exceed 90-seconds. Also, do not use unlicensed images, music, or video content in your submission.

Judges evaluate submissions and are looking for ideas that are especially innovative and clearly articulate the use of technology, feasibility, and scale of impact.

On March 11, 2020, Semi-Finalists will be invited via email to submit a more detailed proposal.

Round 2:

Round 2 Application window opens March 11, 2020 at 10am PT and closes April 3, 2020 at 5pm PT. Finalists will be announced on May 5, 2020.

In addition to the information provided in round one, the online questionnaire for semi-finalists will include the following sections:

  • Problem and solution summary explanation (up to 250 words, will be posted for public voting if chosen as finalist)
  • Detailed technical overview of solution
  • Dependencies
  • Timeline for the next 12-24 months
  • Addressable market
  • Financial model
  • Team bios

Be sure that you or your team leader logs in to the Challenge website before the April 5, 2020 5pm PT deadline to double check all of the materials and click submit in order to be considered for the finalist round.

Be sure to check that your content meets the submission guidelines, which can be found here, or your entry will be disqualified. It’s also important to check for completeness, appropriate content, video length, and unlicensed images, music, or video. If your expanded application is not submitted by the deadline, it will not be considered.
Vote and Promote

If you are a Finalist, we recommend that you share your participation in the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2020 with your supporters and invite them to vote for their favorite entries. Voting for the People’s Choice Award takes place from May 5 – May 22, 2020.