As part of its initiative, Mozilla is asking entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and innovators to propose creative and scalable ideas for connecting more people to the Internet, built on local knowledge and expertise.
The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge will support promising solutions through expert mentorship and funding of US$250,000 in prize monies split into three categories – Best Overall (based on scalability), Best Overall Runner-up and Most Novel Solution (based on experiment with a potential high reward).
“At Mozilla, we believe the Internet is most powerful when anyone – regardless of gender, income, or geography – can participate equally. However, the digital divide remains a clear and persistent reality,” said Mozilla’s Chief Innovation Officer, Katharina Borchert, in a blog post. Further, she says, “This challenge is designed to spur innovations for bringing the members of the Next Billion online. The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge is focused on identifying creative new solutions to connect the unconnected. These solutions may range from consumer products and novel mobile services to new business models and infrastructure proposals.”
Mozilla has launched www.equalrating.com, a website offering educational content and background information to support the challenge. In the coming weeks, Mozilla will also stream a series of webinars stream to further inform potential applicants about the challenge details.
Katharina Borchert added, “Connecting the unconnected is one of the greatest challenges of our time. No one organization or effort can tackle it alone. We must come together and collaborate to build innovative and scalable ways to bring Internet access to the Next Billion – and the other billions, as well.”
Submissions are open from November 1, 2016 to January 6, 2017 and will be judged by a group of external experts. The first round of selections will be announced by mid-January 2017. Selected finalists will receive mentorship for their projects before they demonstrate their ideas in March 2017. Final winners will be announced by end of March 2017.