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4 Powerful Ways to Support Solver Teams (with Inspiring Examples)

At Solve, we find innovators around the world and broker partnerships across our community to scale their work—driving lasting, transformational change. We are fortunate to have more than 120 amazing organizations in our Member community that are committed to supporting our Solver teams.

In the last 3 years, thanks to our community, Solve has brokered more than 190 transformational partnerships and over $25 million in funding commitments for Solver teams and entrepreneurs. Much of this support comes through community partnerships, which we consider marketplace success stories valued at over $10,000. Partnerships can be made in a few different forms.

Rapid-Response Funding 

In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, Solve Members the Morgridge Family Foundation and Someone Else’s Child Foundation, provided a combined $65,000 in emergency grant funding to Solver teams pivoting to address the impacts of Covid-19. Grantees included Wanji Games, Dost Education, Khushi Baby, Access Afya, LifeBank, and Open Learning Exchange. Solve, and these Solver teams, are deeply grateful for this rapid support. 

Prize Funding

Many partnerships begin as Challenge prizes. For example, Schmidt Futures and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation teamed up to provide the $200,000 AI Innovations prize to four 2019 Solver teams: Algramo, Kinedu, Retos—and Blue Sky Analytics, which will also receive an additional $300,000 in follow-on funding.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a Solve Member, selected Solver Shape-Up as the recipient of their $100,000 prize, but they also provided $25,000 in consulting services and assistance, enabling Shape-Up to pilot its solution in many more cities across the US.

Mentorship-Led Support

Another creative prize was the Dubai Cares Prize for Early Childhood Development. Through this prize, Solver teams had an action-packed visit to MIT’s campus in January 2020. They met with MIT faculty and staff, participated in the Harvard Center on the Developing Child’s (HCDC) IDEAS Impact Framework workshop to refine their interventions’ theory of change and monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and attended the 2020 LearnLaunch Across Boundaries conference. The Solver teams found this program to be extremely valuable—and will have one-on-one follow-up support from HCDC coaches to further develop their impact frameworks moving forward. 

Long-Term Development Funding 

Other partnerships take time to develop organically. For example, Temie Giwa-Tuboson, Founder of Solver LifeBank, originally connected with Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director of Merck for Mothers, a Solve Member, at Solve Challenge Finals 2018. The two stayed in touch, and nearly a year and a half later, the MOMs Initiative (a partnership between Merck for Mothers, USAID, DFC, and Credit Suisse) committed $5 million in grants and equity for LifeBank to scale its operations throughout Nigeria and across Africa, making it one of Solve’s biggest partnerships yet.

In a slightly different vein, Solve encouraged relevant Solver teams to apply for the Crisis Response and Prevention Initiative from cloud communications platform Twilio, a Solve Member. Twilio selected three Solver teams to receive $100,000 each in grants as well as technical assistance from Twilio engineers. These teams are:

  • ISeeChange, which has deployed natural disaster notifications through SMS, received product support, and is scoping volunteer opportunities.

  • Beyond Conflict, which is using SMS and WhatsApp to reach refugees to increase their mental wellbeing.

  • WeRobotics, which uses Twilio’s SMS communication technology to improve disaster response.

The above partnerships are just a glimpse of the cross-sector collaboration that occurs within the Solve community. Read about all of Solve’s partnerships here

All these partnerships have been incredibly valuable to our Solver teams. We’re proud to say that 74 percent of 2019 Solver teams give our program a 9 out of 10 when asked if they would recommend Solve to an entrepreneur in their network. 

Get in on the action by joining our Member community, and you can move capital, expertise, and other resources to change the world—and Solve is there to help at every stage of the way.


Photo: Courtesy of Solver Moringa School

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