A multi-stage Acceleration programme & Competition
for start-up teams with innovative solutions for sustainable development.

The submissions for the Digital Innovation Accelerator 2020 are closed.

Find out which start-ups were shortlisted for the >> Digital Innovation Accelerator programme.

The Innovation Factory Digital Innovation Accelerator is a multi-stage programme that includes a 6-month acceleration programme and a final competition.

Participants begin by submitting their digital innovation solutions for Gender Equality, EduTech as well as Environmental Climate Action-related topics. 45 short-listed teams will participate in the 6-month Digital Innovation Accelerator programme where they will – among others – receive capacity building support; refine their business models and pitch strategy; optimise their SDG impacts; and work on their investment readiness. These will be carried out as in-person workshops with local Digital Innovation Accelerator experts.

At the end of the acceleration phase, teams will submit their refined business plans to compete for the final prize. 12 winning teams of the competition stage will receive tailored support packages equivalent to 15.000€ each that will go into further development of their products and/or the scaling of their start-ups. Additionally successful teams will also profit from the Innovation Factory’s network.



Call for applications open to start-ups, companies, non-profits to submit innovations for sustainable development: Gender Equality, EduTech or Environmental Climate Action.
Submit your application & tell us why your innovation idea/prototype needs acceleration & funding support.


45 short-listed teams will take part in the 6-month Digital Innovation Accelerator to:
  • Receive capacity building support;
  • Be guided in business model refinement;
  • Become investment ready;
  • Optimise SDG impacts;
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan


Teams successfully completing the Accelerator Programme will submit supporting documents for jury assessment.
12 winning teams will be selected to win tailored support packages equivalent to 15.000€ each.




Women and girls make up half the global population and therefore half its potential. However, gender inequality in various forms still persists everywhere and stands in the way of sustainable economic growth and social progress. Similarly, this disparity between genders is also reflected in the access to digital technology.

Whether it is providing equal education access or increasing access to adaptive microfinance, technology provide endless possibilities to improving quality of life and enabling women and girls to participate in building resilient communities.



Good quality and accessible education is a crucial foundation for sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, it equips locals with tools to further develop innovative solutions to global problems. According to the UN, 617 million children and adolescents lack minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics, and up to 750 million adults still remain illiterate*.

Digital technology has a high potential to help propel forward impoverished communities, and to help youth gain relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills for employment. 

Applicants under the Edutech track from Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal are eligible for the atingi Content Challenge.

*Source: UN (2019) The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019



Climate change affects all communities globally with increasingly severe weather pattern changes, rising sea levels and extremely high greenhouse gas emissions. Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC will require drastic changes in all aspects of society. Furthermore, the poorest and most vulnerable people are affected the most.

Digital innovations that contribute to climate and environmental action can deliver scalable solutions to enable countries to increase local adaptation efforts across all communities and advance quicker towards cleaner and more resilient economies.


Applications are open from 3 December 2019.

Submissions will be accepted until 2 March 2020, 23:59 CET (extended deadline).

Late submissions will not be considered.


Please ensure your application & documents submitted are in English.


Have a clear business case and feasible financial sustainability for future/current revenue model
Have a digital innovation that delivers positive impact in the areas of Gender Equality, Environmental Climate Action or EduTech
Digital innovation solution is operational & has been introduced to the market & its intended users
Being locally-driven or locally-led from one of these 5 countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, and Senegal
Have potential for scale and significant replication to maximise impact

Eligible Countries


3 Dec 2019 - 2 Mar 2020

Call for Applications Open

3 Dec 2019 - 2 Mar 2020

Mar 2020

Internal Jury Shortlisting

Mar 2020

Shortlisted Teams Contacted

Mar 2020

Apr 2020 - Sep 2020

Accelerator Programme begins

6-months in local countries

30 Oct 2020

Final Submission of Documents for Assessment

Teams that successfully complete the Accelerator programme compete for final tailored support packages

30 Oct 2020

Nov 2020

International Jury evaluations

A panel of international jury experts and investors will evaluate the submitted documents & select the 12 winning teams.

Dec 2020

Final Announcement of Winners

12 Final teams selected to receive final prize.

Dec 2020


Do I need formal qualifications to participate?

Applicants are not assessed based on education qualifications.


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