CISCO Global Problem Solvers Challenge 2022 for Innovative Early-Stage Startups ($1M in Prize)

Competition Grant / Award in Applied Science , in Natural Science , in Social Science
  • Apply Before : March 11, 2022

Opportunity Details

  • Opportunity ID 81833
  • Degree Non Degree Program/Certificate
  • Language Requirement Not Required
  • Opportunity Type : Partially Funded
  • Gender MaleFemale
  • Language of Instruction English
  • Application Fee Required No

Opportunity Description

Overview of the challenge

Applications are now open for the sixth Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge. The competition aims to honor new business ideas that leverage technology for social change from entrepreneurs worldwide. Furthermore, its goal is to promote early-stage projects that extend beyond the concept or idea formation stage but which have not yet created over USD 1M in funding and/or revenue. So, if you have an idea of how can your early-stage innovative technology solution solves the world’s most critical social and environmental problems, it is for you to apply.


Cisco is committed to positively impacting 1 billion people by 2025. As part of its work, it strives to stimulate and empower a generation of global problem solvers who will not only survive – but drive and flourish – in our increasingly digital economy. With the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital technologies connecting devices and data, good ideas now have the potential to make a difference more speedily than ever before – and CISCO is here to help your ideas drive change.

Quick details

Application deadline:  February 11, 2022 (5: PM Pacific Time)

Organizer: CISCO

Announcement of winners: August 23, 2022


In total, USD 1,000,000 in prize money will be awarded to multiple predetermined categories of winners as follows:

  1. General Prizes
  • Grand prize winner (a single team): USD 250,000
  • Regional first runner-ups winners from the Americas, EMEAR & APJC (three teams): USD 75000 each
  • Second runner-ups (three teams): 50,000 USD each
  • Third runner-ups (three teams): 25,000 USD each
  • Fourth runner-ups (three teams) 10,000 USD each
  • The People’s Choice Award (the team who receives the most vote): 10,000 USD
  • CISCO Employee’s Award (the team receiving the most vote): USD 10,000
  1. Special Prizes 2021
  • Greenhouse Gas Solutions Prize Winner (USD 50,000): A single team will be designated as the winner of this prize.
  • Ethical AI Prize Winner (50,000 USD): A single team will be the winner
  • Digital Inclusivity Prize (50,000 USD: A single team will win this.
  • HBCU Startup Prize Winner (50,000 USD): A single team
  • Pandemic Response Prize Winner (a single team): US$ 50,000

Eligibility criteria

This Contest is open and offered only to:

(1) Individuals aged 18 years or older at the time of registration

(2) Teams of nearly five members at the age of eighteen (18) years or older at the time of registration; and

(3) legal business entities (organizational applicants)

  • Individual Participants, Team Participants, and/or Business Entity Participants that have previously won monetary awards in the same Challenge or a Cisco prize at the Rice Business Plan Competition are ineligible for this Contest.
  • All participants must agree to the terms and conditions of the competition before submitting their application.
  • Each Entry must be the original creation and idea of the Participant(s) corresponding to the terms of the contest.
  • Entrants may submit only one entry.
  • And, all entries must be submitted in English.

Evaluation criteria

A panel of Judges evaluate submissions and are looking for ideas that are particularly innovative and clearly articulate the use of technology, feasibility, and scale of impact.

How to apply?

Participants can apply online through the following link and by precisely and truthfully complete the online registration form.

There will be two distinct submissions rounds.

Round one: To prepare your submission, you have to complete an online questionnaire that will cover the following topics:

  • Completing the online questionnaire as explained on the contest site.
  • Explaining the solution, including:
    • Its benefits and how it uses IoT or digital technologies
    • How it is unique and will be taken to market
    • Risks associated with the solution
  • 90-second overview video further elaborating on the solution.

Round two: the Semi-Finalists will be announced on or around April 26, 2022.

In addition to the information provided in round one, the online round two questionnaires for Semi-Finalists will comprise of the following sections:

  • Problem and explanation of solution summary
  • Comprehensive technical overview of the solution
  • Dependencies
  • Timeline for the next 12-24 months
  • Addressable Market
  • Financial model
  • Team bios

Apply now

For more detailed information, please visit the official link. Or, please reach out to with any additional queries.

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