Maybe you’ve donated to UNICEF in the past when you passed by one of their volunteers canvassing. Or you’ve seen their advertisements on public transportation encouraging you to help children in Ukraine, Syria, or Afghanistan.
Whatever the case, all of the money that flows into the United Nations Children’s Fund is certainly going to good use.
Programs that pair the entrepreneurial drive of the global tech ecosystem with a competitively-structured funding vehicle is one way the humanitarian organization is ensuring donation money is given out to highly motivated individuals seeking to affect big change.
UNICEF Lab is one such initiative. In 2018, UNICEF partnered with Spain’s premier digital business school, ISDI, to launch a new type of accelerator aimed at finding entrepreneurial solutions to humanitarian crises affecting children in Spanish-speaking nations.
Recently the UNICEF partnership completed its fourth annual Jury Day, an event in which eleven constituent projects presented their humanitarian solutions to a panel of industry experts, investors and UNICEF Spain representatives with the aim of being selected for two months of funding and mentorship through the ISDI Accelerator.
Initially, 160 projects applied for funding. That pool was later narrowed down to 32 semi-finalists before the last cohort of 11 were reviewed on Jury Day. Of the 11, five finalists were chosen to receive funding, mentorships, expert advice, and access to a package of perks valued at up to €400,000.
The five ventures selected by a jury of UNICEF and ISDI leaders to receive funding and support through the accelerator program were:
- Lullaai: An AI-enabled solution designed to make pediatric mental health services accessible and affordable to all families.
- Colors of Talent: An AI-enabled psycho-pedagogical platform that helps young people ignite their passion for learning through positive and educational ‘screen-time.’
- Aimentia: A cloud-based AI-enabled digital therapy platform that provides a suite of machine-learning-powered tools to mental health professionals to help boost the capacity, efficiency, and accuracy of their practice.
- Syntagma Digital: A solution aimed at innovating the way the humanities are taught to schoolchildren by making the field more accessible and inclusive.
- Yo también Leo: An app designed to help students with learning disabilities learn how to read.
The next stage for the five finalists involves an intense two month acceleration program led and designed by ISDI Accelerator which will include, among other benefits, a high-impact bootcamp aimed at helping projects expand their knowledge; individual mentorship sessions; a suite of insights delivered by from UNICEF Spain’s Innovation Department; a perks program provided by ISDI partners such as Amazon, IBM and Stripe; and a demo day at the end of the program.
To find out more about the work UNICEF Lab is doing, visit here.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.