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UNICEF Innovation Fund to Invest in Blockchain Startups

By on February 2nd, 2016 at 8:05 am UTC · 3 min read

UNICEF plans to invest in early stage blockchain companies in an effort to improve the lives of children in developing countries.

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Photo: Søren Thorup/Flickr
Photo: Søren Thorup/Flickr
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced the launch of its Innovation Fund that will provide financing for new startups aimed at enhancing the lives of children all over the globe. The organization has already invited blockchain startups to apply for funding.

UNICEF has by far collected $9 million that will be used to help around 60 startups develop their projects. Each company will receive nearly $50,000.

The startups will be selected depending on their team, the future potential of the project and its relevance to children.

“The purpose of the UNICEF Innovation Fund is to invest in open source technologies for children. We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children,” said Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Co-Lead.

To meet the requirements, UNICEF noted, projects “must be open source and have a working prototype”. They can work on creating a new technology or enhancing the existing one.

The fund is going to invest in three areas:

  • Products for youth under 25 to address such needs as learning and youth participation
  • Real-time information for decision-making
  • Infrastructure to provide access to services and information, including connectivity, power, finance, sensors and transport.

“These three areas are ripe for investment due to rapidly changing technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, wearables and sensors, artificial intelligence and renewable energy,” Fabian stated.

The fund is going to upload all information regarding the development of the projects on its website, so that investors, which included private donors and governments, could see for what their money are used.

UNICEF Innovation Fund has earlier invested in tech solutions, including social messaging instrument U-Report, an open-source SMS framework RapidSMS and RapidPro,  an open source product that allows building mobile services anywhere in the world. The services are currently used by millions of people.

Applications will be accepted until 26 February 2016.

UNICEF, the charity managed by the United Nations, is working on promoting the rights and well-being of children around the world. The organization provides humanitarian assistance to children and their mothers in developing countries. the United Nations rs could see f

UNICEF Innovation, which is now working in 190 countries, is committed to urge the development of innovations targeted at making better the lives of children across the world. It aims at tackling problems in such areas as health, education, nutrition, water and protection.

Polina Chernykh
Author: Polina Chernykh

Polina is an undergraduate student at Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) where she is studying at the faculty of International Business Communication for a degree specializing in Intercultural Communication. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, music and travelling.

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