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DAI, USAID, Montgomery County Innovation Lab, and GAN Launch Innovation into Action Challenge

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DAI and three partners announced the launch of the Innovation into Action Challenge, a new challenge designed to support innovations with the potential to make a difference in the lives of people in emerging and transitioning nations.

The Innovation into Action Challenge is presented by DAI; USAID’s Global Development Lab; the Innovation Program of Montgomery County, Maryland; and the Denver, Colorado-based Global Accelerator .Network (GAN). The partners gathered at a January 28 kickoff event sponsored by Montgomery County and hosted at DAI’s Bethesda headquarters.

“What marks this challenge out from the crowd is its emphasis on moving development innovations and innovators up the ladder that leads from concept or prototype to application in real-world settings,” said DAI President and CEO Jim Boomgard.

Three winners will receive a tailored package of support designed to accelerate their innovation’s deployment in the field:

  • $20,000 in funding
  • Matchmaking with one of DAI’s projects, including a fully-funded visit to the selected project for networking, product testing, market analysis, and more
  • Access to a network of innovation accelerator professionals through the challenge partners
  • Coaching and technical mentoring to refine their pitch, product, or service, with an eye to commercialization and/or contract assignments with development organizations like DAI

“The U.S. Global Development Lab has done a great job sourcing promising innovation and bringing new ideas to light,” said Alexis Bonnell, Chief of Applied Innovation and Acceleration for the Lab. “This Challenge gives us a unique opportunity to put these innovations and ideas into action.”

The Innovation into Action Challenge is open to [small] companies, nonprofit organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide. Applicants are encouraged to nominate their innovative technologies, approaches, or processes in the following focus areas.

  • Governance and Services: Fostering dialogue between governments and citizens.
  • Workforce Development: Equipping young people with skills and ways to connect to the labor market.
  • Data Analytics: Improving monitoring, service delivery, and impact of projects related to health, education, energy, water, and sanitation.
  • Knowledge Management: Facilitating learning and collaboration among development partners
  • Climate Adaptation: Helping monitor and respond to changes in the environment
  • Agriculture: Improve and secure food production and distribution

“Our business is all about helping other businesses make it to the next level,” said GAN CEO Patrick Riley. “We are delighted to bring our insights to a sector where the potential benefits and social impact of acceleration are so great.”

“The Innovation into Action Challenge underscores the importance of Montgomery County and the Washington metropolitan area as a hub for technology and global thinking. Social entrepreneurs will benefit from this Challenge through access to the impressive array of partners we have assembled,” added Isiah Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland. “We are delighted to be part of it.”

The Challenge is targeted at innovations that have shown some traction in the marketplace and would benefit substantially from engagement with DAI’s portfolio. To nominate your innovation and find out more, complete the brief online application by February 29 at http://bit.ly/mont-challenge.

 

About the Innovation into Action Partners

DAI is a global development company dedicated to shaping a more livable world. Currently working on some 150 projects in 89 countries, DAI tackles fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governance, and instability.

USAID is the U.S. Government’s lead development agency. With the launch of the Global Development Lab in 2014, USAID reaffirmed its commitment to science, technology, innovation, and partnerships as drivers of development.

Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., is a local jurisdiction with global constituents and global reach. It is committed to nurturing innovation ecosystems in various sectors and to fostering entrepreneurship through strategic public-private partnerships.

The Global Accelerator Network is a network of the world’s most respected accelerators. GAN accelerators provide startups with the resources necessary to create and grow businesses, wherever they are.