Today, in our third year of the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge, we are proud to be recognizing a new group of young entrepreneurs who are creating cutting-edge, technology-based solutions capable of solving some of the world’s toughest challenges.

This year, 335 teams from around the world competed for a total of US$300K in prizes. Teams put forth solutions addressing challenges across the environment, healthcare, critical human needs, and more. Every team showed a deep understanding of the magnitude of the problems facing our global community, and developed innovative solutions to address them.

It has been exciting for us to see the progress CareNX, the 2018 Grand Prize winner, has made advancing their solution—a wearable, low-cost, non-stress test fetal monitoring device called Feton. Since they won the Challenge last year, they have not only reached 15 times more mothers since their inception in 2016 (for a total of 20,000), but were selected to be one of the startups for the inaugural class of Google’s new Launchpad Accelerator India.

With each year, I’m continually impressed by the ideas and solutions developed by these young entrepreneurs and inspired by their drive to make a difference. It’s with much excitement that I introduce you to the winners of this year’s competition:

Grand Prize (US$100,000)

Oorja (Imperial College London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) deploys and operates pay-as-you-go community solar pumping systems to provide affordable irrigation services to smallholder farmers, allowing them access to affordable water services year-round, reduce irrigation costs, grow high-value crops, and double their incomes. Learn more in the Oorja pitch video and on the team’s website.

First Runner-Up (US$75,000)

Solar Freeze (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya) is a portable, solar powered cold storage solution, mentorship and training program, and mobile app that helps smallholder farmers increase their post-harvest sales by preventing food loss. Learn more in the Solar Freeze pitch video and on the team’s website

Second Runners-Up (US$25,000 each)

Calla Imaging’s (Duke University, United States of America) solution is a patient-centric cervical cancer screening technology that health providers or women themselves can use. Designed to democratize cervical cancer screening, the technology uses automated algorithms for accurate diagnosis without an expert and the mHealth app for patient communication follow-up and data storage. Learn more in the Calla Imaging pitch video and on the team’s website.

Illuminum Greenhouses (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya) provides smallholder farmers with affordable greenhouses and drip kits equipped with solar powered and IoT sensors that enable greater protection of crops from pests and diseases and increased water efficiency through automation. Learn more in the Illuminum Greenhouses pitch video and on the team’s website.

TrashCon (R.V. College of Engineering, India) has developed a one-stop solution to sort and process any type of mixed municipal solid waste automatically into biodegradable waste and non-biodegradable waste with up to 99% efficiency. Learn more in the TrashCon pitch video and on the team’s website.

Third Runners-Up (US$10,000 each)

Blakbear (Imperial College London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is a soil-sensing platform that helps feed a growing world sustainably by using cutting-edge electrochemical sensing technology and machine learning to increase the yield farmers can get from their land, without using any more fertilizer than necessary. Learn more in the Blakbear pitch video and on the team’s website.

Neurobots (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil) offers stroke patients an innovative rehabilitation therapy with a brain computer interface capable of giving them 30% of their hand movement back in two weeks. Learn more in the Neurobots pitch video and on the team’s website.

Reeddi (University of Toronto, Canada), an innovative energy generation and distribution system, provides affordable, reliable, and clean energy via mobile capsules to individuals and businesses operating in energy poor regions of the world. Learn more in the Reeddi pitch video and on the team’s website.

TREP LABS (Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria) has created REALDRIP, a low-cost infusion monitor device for simpler and safer blood transfusion and drip treatment. REALDRIP continuously monitors flow rate and automates the process during drip treatment to prevent health complications. Learn more in the TREP LABS pitch video and on the team’s website.

People’s Choice Award (US$10,000)

Banoo (Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia) integrated a microbubble, IoT, and solar panel to provide smart aquaculture technology to help people boost their food resilience in areas where land and water availability is scarce. Learn more in the Banoo pitch video.


Congratulations to all of our 2019 Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge winners! I look forward to following their journeys and the impact they will make as their visions become reality! I encourage you to check out their solutions on the Global Problem Solver Challenge site.



Tae Yoo

No Longer with Cisco