Are you a social entrepreneur with an innovative solution focused on empowering women and girls? Apply for the Innovations to Empower Women and Girls Challenge before 30 March 2022! 

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with World Intellectual Property Organizational (WIPO), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) are launching the Innovations to Empower Women and Girls Challenge (the Challenge). The Challenge was launched to develop further and position innovative solutions to scale to help combat inequalities and advance the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity. 

Through the Challenge, UNFPA aims to support social enterprises registered in UNFPA programme countries to pivot from grant-making models to self-sustaining financial models. Participants in the Challenge will receive mentorship, technical assistance in key focus areas including intellectual property management and business modelling, and grants of up to USD 60,000.  

Interested applicants must fulfil the following to apply: 

  • Company, including any joint venture/consortium members and any of its individual members, must not be under procurement prohibitions derived from the Compendium of United Nations Security Council Sanctions Lists at the time of application 
  • Company, including any joint venture/consortium members and any of its individual members, has not been suspended, debarred, sanctioned, or otherwise identified as ineligible by any UN Organization or the World Bank Group 
  • Innovation must be implemented in the UNFPA programme country in which the company is registered  
  • The proposed innovation should promote the empowerment of women and girls and contribute to one of the following challenges: 
  • Ending unmet need for family planning 
  • Ending preventable maternal deaths 
  • Ending gender-based violence and harmful practices 

(See descriptions here) 

  • Company must have already tested a prototype, undergone proof of concept, and have a minimum viable product (MVP) that has been piloted and is ready to be positioned to scale; the MVP must belong to the submitting organization 
  • Innovative solution must have a viable pathway to scale and sustainability via the market or public sector (definition as per UN Innovation Toolkit: driving adoption beyond the initial pilot’s target population) 
  • No similar solution to the one being proposed, or the proposed solution delivers more development impact per dollar or is more cost-effective than other ways of achieving the same objectives; there must be evidence to support this claim 


Interested applicants must register on the UNFPA platform to submit an expression of interest to be shortlisted for proposals.  


To register on the UNFPA Innovation Challenge platform, visit: Registration 

To submit an expression of interest for this Challenge, visit: Applications  

For more information on the Challenge, visit: Innovations to Empower Women and Girls Challenge