MIT Announces 2018 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge North America Winners

The Four Regional Winners Now Proceed to the Global Tournament at MIT on November 8 to vie for $1,000,000 USD.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 28, 2018

The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy has announced the four North America regional winners for the 2018 global economic prize, the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC). The winning organizations were selected from 12 finalists at a celebration in Detroit, Michigan, on September 27, featuring MIT IDE director Erik Brynjolfsson. The celebration was held in conjunction with the IIC North America collaborator, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

The IIC was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology three years ago to help speed the transition to a high-growth and high-opportunity digital economy. The IIC awards $1.6 million annually to the “heroes of Inclusive Innovation” − organizations that are using technology to reinvent the future of work and create a more equitable economy.

Nearly 300 for-profit and non-profit organizations across North America registered for the North America Challenge. Regional experts evaluated and provided feedback on applications. A Selection Panel of 10 regional leaders chose four IIC North America Winners live at the event. Each winner received $20,000 and an expenses-paid trip to MIT for the global tournament on November 8. At this Grand Prize Gala, to be held at MIT, the IIC Champion Committee will select four Grand Prize Winners from the four North America winners as well as the 16 winners from the MIT IIC’s other regions – Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia -– to each receive $250,000.

The 2018 IIC North America winners are:

CareAcademy: Skills Development & Opportunity Matching Category

CareAcademy (Boston, MA) provides online professional development to teach and upskill caregivers, providing opportunities for millions of workers to prepare for the future of healthcare without allowing language, income or status to be a barrier.

AnnieCannons:Income Growth & Job Creation Category

AnnieCannons (Oakland, CA) transforms survivors of human trafficking into software professionals, helping them sustain a lifetime free from exploitation.

Apps Without Code:Technology Access Category

Apps Without Code (Detroit, MI) is a global education platform that teaches entrepreneurs how to build profitable app businesses without writing any code, with a focus on Black and Latino populations who lack equal access to STEM education.

Fig Tech Inc. : Financial Inclusion Category
Fig Tech Inc. (New York, NY) works with non-profits to provide credit building products that bridge families from income volatility to financial stability by providing emergency credit to individuals, putting clients on a path to mainstream credit.

“The grand challenge of our era is to use digital technologies to create not only prosperity, but shared prosperity,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and the Schussel Family Professor of Management Science at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “We created the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge to recognize and reward the many amazing people and organizations that are working to accomplish this mission.”

“With the MIT IIC, we’re celebrating the entrepreneurs and innovators who are demonstrating many different ways to put powerful technology to use to improve people’s economic prospects,” adds Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Principal Research Scientist at MIT Sloan. “Our North America winners and other entrants show us that broadly shared prosperity is possible, which makes a great antidote to pessimism and negativity.”

For more on the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge, the North America winners, and our mission, visit:

Press enquiries can be sent to Shannon Farrelly, Director of Communications & Media Relations, at