In 2016, Cisco made a commitment to positively impact one billion people by 2025.
One of the ways we’re reaching this goal is by investing in entrepreneurs who harness technology for social impact, and helping them jumpstart innovative ideas that benefit society, catalyze economic growth, create jobs, and shape a more inclusive future.
In its fourth year now, the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge is an online competition that awards cash prizes to early-stage startups that have developed a solution that drives economic development or solves a social or environmental problem. We want to encourage them to address some of the biggest challenges we face by creating cutting-edge, technology-based solutions.
Since the program began in 2016, we have awarded $900,000 USD in prize money to 30 startups from 12 countries – helping them accelerate their breakthrough technologies.
Since mid-January, we narrowed this year’s competition down from over 500 submissions to 13 winning teams. Today, we are proud to be awarding an additional $350,000 USD worth of cash prizes to social entrepreneurs from every corner of the world – from Indonesia and India, to Poland and Cameroon, to Mexico and the United States.
Thank you to all the teams that submitted ideas this year. I am truly inspired by your passion and drive to develop technology solutions that help communities around the globe. With that, I am delighted to announce the winners of the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2020, starting with our Grand Prize winner:
Grand Prize ($100,000 USD)
Savanna Circuit Tech (University of Nairobi, Kenya) has developed a solar chilling in-transit system to help dairy businesses in Africa cut post-harvest losses. Savanna Circuit manufactures and distributes last-mile, non-refrigerant, solar-powered milk chillers that can be placed on any means of transportation, from motorbikes to trucks. Their AI-enabled ICT solution prevents milk spoilage and maximizes profits for dairy producers. Learn more on the team’s website.
First Runner-Up ($75,000 USD)
CURE (University of Sousse, Tunisia) has created customizable 3D-printed bionic arms for people with limb differences at an affordable price. CURE’s 3D printed prosthetics are controlled by the wearers’ muscles and are easy-to-use and to assemble. Their combination of virtual reality and gamification is a therapeutic solution for training and rehabilitation from home. Learn more on the team’s website.
Second Runners-Up ($25,000 USD, each)
Gramhal (Harvard Kennedy School, USA) provides smallholder farmers in India a one-stop solution for post-harvest services. Through Gramhal, farmers store their produce in a warehouse, access credit against it, and sell it at a favorable time. Gramhal’s model empowers farmers and enables them to access better prices for their produce and increase their income. Learn more on the team’s website.
INFIUSS (University of Yaounde, Cameroon) is a blood sourcing and delivery platform that recruits blood donors and delivers blood directly to patients in their hospital beds once they send a request through the INFIUSS app, SMS, or phone call. INFIUSS helps address critical blood shortages in low-resource hospital settings. Learn more on the team’s website.
Respira Labs (University of California, Berkeley, USA) is developing a low-cost, wearable device, Sylvee, for continuous, at-home monitoring of lung function for patients with respiratory diseases like COPD. Sylvee uses patented acoustic technology with machine-learning algorithms to detect abnormal lung volume changes. Sylvee will allow remote monitoring of patients, reduce healthcare costs, and improve patients’ quality of life. Learn more on the team’s website.
Third Runners-Up ($10,000 USD, each)
Intelligent Hives (Lodz University of Technology, Poland) provides an easy-to-use intelligent apiary management system that increases beekeepers’ revenues and reduces global bee extinction. The system, consisting of sensors and applications, allows you to monitor the condition of bees 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world. Learn more on the team’s website.
Majicom (University of Cambridge, UK) is developing a unique water kiosk that can be used to build digital water ecosystems to provide communities across urban Africa with convenient and affordable water. Majicom’s water kiosk combines innovative purification, storage, payment, and digital reward and monitoring functionality into a flexible product. Learn more on the team’s website.
Neurafarm (Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia) has developed AI-powered crop protection and management apps to identify plant disease and pests, increase harvest, connect with experts, and tap into bigger markets. To meet the demand for food production, Neurafarm makes smart and data-driven technology accessible to all farmers. Learn more on the team’s website.
Preemar (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Mexico) makes a device called Pro-viden, that reduces agriculture farms’ losses by measuring water parameters that impact aquaculture organisms. These statistics are then loaded onto the Pro-Viden app where farmers can monitor the results of their water quality, helping them mitigate diseases that can occur within their aquaculture, and thus increase production. Learn more on the team’s website.
India Impact Grand Prize ($25,000 USD)
Sensegrass (Jaipur National University, India) has created a smart farming solution that combines IoT sensors and AI agronomical software to allow farmers to measure data and analyze the health of their soil. As factors like climate change and the increased use of pesticides continues to decrease soil fertility, farmers can monitor these components through the app to increase production. Learn more on the team’s website.
India Impact Runners-Up ($10,000 USD, each)
Hydrotec Solutions (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India) has created a device that uses embedded technology to clean and dispense drinking water automatically, utilizing a system that is both accessible and sustainable. Arosia is a kiosk that allows for people to have access to clean water where systems may not be readily available to purify water. Learn more on the team’s website.
PS-1925 (Indian Institute of Information Technology Allahabad, India) is a device that decreases the amount of prolonged pesticide exposure to those who manually spray pesticides. PS-1925 is an AI system that can cover almost ten times the amount of land in an hour that someone can manually do on their own in a day, decreasing the harmful effects of pesticides and increasing the overall output of crops for farmers. Learn more on the team’s website.
People’s Choice ($10,000 USD) and India Impact People’s Choice ($5,000 USD)
Caeli (Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies, India) works to create a more accessible alternative for patients who are experiencing respiratory problems due to air pollution. Caeli is the first anti-pollution mask that is not only portable, but can track the health of the patient as well as medication usage through an app. Learn more on the team’s website.
Please check out our blog series featuring each winning team!