All IIC Regional Winners Named

September 23, 2019


The four regional finalists in Asia were named on Saturday, October 5, in Taiwan. The IIC Asia Celebration was held at a new R&D Innovation Center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The winners in each category (pictured below) are:

Asia Incentive: Financial Inclusion

NaTakallam: Income Growth & Job Creation

Youth4Jobs: Skills Development & Opportunity Matching

Innovision: Technology Access


Asia regional winners with IIC Executive Producer, Devin Cook, (far right)

ALSO, regional winners from Europe were named on Monday, October 7! Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, hosted the IIC Europe Celebration at its global headquarters. The four regional winners and their categories are:

Padlock Income Growth & Job Creation, London

Beam, Financial Inclusion, London

Organise, Technology Access, UK

Reaktor Education, Skills Development & Opportunity Matching, Sweden


From Egypt to California; Kenya to Peru, innovators are using technology to solve social problems and to include more people in the digital economy. Examples of these business plans—in the categories of financial inclusion, technology access, job matching, and income growth--were prominently displayed at regional celebrations around the globe this month. It’s all part of MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) global tournament. For the fourth year, MIT’s IIC will award $1.6 million annually to organizations that are using technology to revolutionize the future of work and create a more equitable economy. 

On September 20, Liquid Telecom hosted the IIC Africa Celebration in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A selection panel of regional leaders chose four IIC African Winners--with ideas such as empowering daycare workers, and digitizing grocery inventory. Each will go to MIT for the final round of the competition on November 21. There they will join other regional winners--including four from the U. S. and Canada announced in Toronto on September 18, and winners from Latin America named earlier in the month. In October, winners will be named in Asia and Europe as well.

The IIC accelerates innovation-driven entrepreneurship for a more inclusive and prosperous economy. Since 2016, $178.9 million in cumulative revenue has been generated, $1.05 billion in cumulative capital has been raised, and over 6,800 jobs were created by the IIC’s 100 winning organizations. All regional winners receive $20,000 and a paid trip to MIT, where they vie to win the $250,000 Global Grand Prize in their category. The remaining eight finalists in each region are awarded $5,000 each.

The 2019 Africa winners are:

Social Lender provides access to formal credit with a proprietary algorithm based on a user’s mobile, online, and social media platform reputation. The algorithm performs a social audit and creates a Social Reputation Score to each user. Many users can now borrow from banks and other financial institutions for the first time.

This Kenyan enterprise helps set standards across Nairobi’s informal childcare market. It uses innovative technology to benefit underserved preschool children and working mothers in the poorest sections of the city. Tiny Totos has been working since 2014 to improve informal daycare. For instance, the phone app helps managers record income and attendance and track standards and child health.

  • Skills Development & Opportunity Matching; Taskty

Taskty is Egypt’s largest online marketplace for home services of all types for consumers. It connects workers with jobs and provides increasing economic opportunity.

Shopit digitizes informal grocery stores in low-income South African communities and links them to the formal economy. Traders use Shopit to access wholesalers’ catalogues and exclusive deals. They order all their stock directly from their phone and get it delivered to their doorstep within a few hours. Wholesalers use Shopit to increase the visibility of their catalogues and products.

Watch the full video of the event here.


U.S. and Canada

MaRS Discovery District hosted the IIC U.S. & Canada Celebration on September 18, featuring leading speakers from the local and regional ecosystem. Held at the MaRS Centre Auditorium in Toronto, Ontario, a selection panel chose four regional winners that will go to MIT for the final round of the global tournament and gala celebration.

The winners in each of four categories are:

Up & Go is the first booking app in the U.S. owned by domestic workers, empowering them to increase wages, build assets, and compete in the digital gig economy. It was developed by this Brooklyn, N.Y. based organization.

  • Income Growth & Job Creation; JobGet

Boston-based JobGet is an efficient, mobile platform that enables millions of low-income jobseekers to find their next career within seconds and get hired within hours. On JobGet, users can create a profile, apply to hundreds of jobs and chat with employers all within five minutes.

  • Skills Development & Opportunity Matching; Skillist

Skillist is a skill-based, identity-blind hiring platform that connects companies seeking entry-level talent to relevant, often-overlooked jobseekers, such as the millions of Americans without four-year college degrees. The application process makes it easy for businesses--such as Wayfair-- to uncover and evaluate entry-level candidates.

  • Technology Access; Aira

Aira employs a humans + machines approach, harnessing artificial intelligence and remote human agents to facilitate employment success for the blind. Based in San Diego, Calif., Aira uses the latest technologies to connect people who are blind or have low vision with highly trained professionals who provide visual information on demand.

Watch the full livestream video of the event, including MIT IDE Director, Erik Brynjolfsson’s remarks, here.

Follow all of the latest IIC news and updates here.