UNICEF’s Venture Fund Gender- Responsive Innovation Challenge

UNICEF’s Venture Fund Gender- Responsive Innovation Challenge

Deadline:24th May, 2024

The UNICEF Venture Fund is committed to diversity and inclusion in its approach to early-stage investing and catalyzing novel innovations developed by startups leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data science (DS), drones, blockchain, or extended reality (XR).  These innovations aim to address the unmet needs of marginalized and underserved children and their families.

UNICEF’s Venture Fund Gender- Responsive Innovation ChallengeIn collaboration with GITEX Africa, the Venture Fund launches The Gender- Responsive Innovation Challenge (GRIC).

The GRIC is an opportunity to recognise companies leading the way for developing gender-responsive solutions and/or businesses in Africa. Its primary objective is to identify, recognise and invest in companies facilitating  outcomes that can help close the gender gap.

The challenge

Recognizing structural and systemic barriers in the technology sector which lead to the dominance of certain types of solutions and founders, the UNICEF Venture Fund is seeking to facilitate an inclusive and gender-responsive innovation in three key areas:

Area 1: Investing in diverse and underrepresented founders (especially women founders)

Area 2: Increasing the availability of digital products and services that can solve the specific unmet needs of vulnerable and underrepresented populations (such as children, women, people living with disabilities and refugees)

Area 3: Facilitating inclusive user design in the development of innovation to


Companies will receive mentorship and technical assistance from Venture Fund experts to enhance their investment readiness and potential for future funding from the Venture Fund. It will comprise:

  • 10 hours of technical mentoring consisting of Open Source, business development, frontier technology, software development, diversity, equity, and inclusion mentorship,
  • Additional support to understand and navigate the Venture Fund sourcing and selection process.
  • GRIC winners will be announced at GITEX Africa Summit conference on 29-31 May in Marrakech, Morrocco.


The Venture Fund is particularly seeking solutions that:

  • Address challenges to accelerate results for children.
  • Are optimized for low-resource environments (e.g., low connectivity, limited mobile access).
  • Focus on reducing, rather than widening, inequalities.
  • Are able to deliver in multiple languages, including smaller languages.

For more information and application.


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