About the IIC

The Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) is the flagship initiative of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). We award over one million dollars in prizes each year to Inclusive Innovators: entrepreneurs around the world that are using technology to reinvent the future of work. Why? To create greater shared prosperity, a grand challenge of our time.

We live in the greatest age of technological innovation in human history. Yet many people are not experiencing the benefits of this progress, despite actively seeking to more fully participate in and profit from new educational, financial, and work opportunities. The IIC believes that Inclusive Innovation is an economic and moral imperative, and that the key question of our era isn’t what technology is going to do to our economy and society, but what we will do with technology.

By identifying and promoting the powerful global community of future of work visionaries, the IIC proactively accelerates the technology-driven solutions enabling greater economic opportunity for working people around the world facing the challenge of rapidly advancing digital progress. The IIC supports entrepreneurs by recognizing and rewarding their technological solutions that are creating greater shared prosperity today. In the first two years, over 1,500 organizations responded to the IIC, illustrating the momentum behind the global future of work movement. Over 230 Judges have reviewed applications and more than $2 million has been awarded to entrepreneurs and innovators who are demonstrating different ways to put powerful new technologies to work to improve people’s economic opportunity. To date, forty entrepreneurs have been celebrated and rewarded at gala celebrations. We aim to drive the growing global movement of entrepreneurs focused on creating viable, scalable solutions that generate valuable jobs.

In 2018, the IIC launched a global tournament, expanding our impact on the future of work and the entrepreneurs who are reinventing it. By collaborating with like-minded partners in five global regions — North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia — we will broaden our reach to deserving applicant organizations around the world, derive lessons from the global community, and accelerate the Inclusive Innovation movement.

“If we employ Inclusive Innovation globally, it could be the best thing that ever happened to humanity. We can have more wealth, better health, and widely held prosperity.”

Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and co-founder, MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge


The IIC awards over one million dollars in prizes to global entrepreneurs in four categories that holistically represent the solution types necessary to reinvent the future of work.

Skill Development & Opportunity Matching

How do we skill workers and provide pathways to the work opportunities of the future?

Income Growth & Job Creation

How do we ensure that workers earn sufficient and growing incomes to achieve satisfactory quality of life and living standards? How do we reimagine struggling industries and create new opportunities for work?

Technology Access

How do we connect more people with internet and technology access, regardless of age, location, education, or ability?

Financial Inclusion

How do we ensure financial security and stability for more people? How do we enable more people to access the benefits of financial services?

Who Should Apply

We seek applications from early and growth stage start-ups, and entrepreneurial organizations that are:

  • Using technology to reinvent work and create economic opportunity for working people below the top rung of the economic ladder.
  • Demonstrating traction and impact and enhancing shared prosperity today. These organizations are beyond the “idea phase”.
  • Any age, size, or type (for-profit or non-profit with plan for financial sustainability).

See Questions


Select Location for Deadline Info

North America Latin America Asia Europe Africa


  • What makes the IIC a “global tournament” in 2018?

    The 2018 IIC has two rounds. First, three Regional Winners in each of the four Award Categories will be recognized at Celebration events on their home continents. The first place winner in each Award Category will continue on to the second round of the IIC. These twenty top place finishers (four from each of the five regions) will fly to MIT for the IIC Global Grand Prize Celebration, where one Grand Prize Winner in each Award Category will be announced.

  • What are the IIC regions?

    Regional Winners will be named in North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

  • What are the 2018 Award Categories?

    This year’s award categories are Skills Development & Opportunity Matching, Income Growth & Job Creation, Technology Access, and Financial Inclusion. (See above for more details.)

  • What is the prize?

    A Global Grand Prize Winner will be named in each of our four Award Categories and will receive a $250,000 prize. Regional Winners will receive financial and/or in-kind prizes as well. Check your IIC Region’s webpage for details.

  • Are there any guidelines on how the prize purse can be spent?

    We expect that the prize money will be invested in the organization, but we do not have any stringent guidelines.

  • Is my organization eligible to apply to the IIC?

    For-profit and nonprofit organizations of any size, age, or type and from any nation are encouraged to apply. Eligible organizations are:

    • Using technology to reinvent work and create economic opportunity for people below the top rung of the economic ladder.
    • Demonstrating traction and impact. They are beyond the “idea phase” and enhancing shared prosperity today.
  • What is the difference between the registration deadline and the submission deadline?

    Once Registration has closed, registrants will have about two weeks to complete and submit their Applications. Deadlines vary by region. Navigate to the regional page in which you will be applying to view Registration and Application deadlines.

  • I missed the registration deadline. Can I still apply?

    The IIC cannot accept applications from organizations that did not complete their online registration by the deadline in the region in which they are applying. Online applications not completed and submitted by the regional submission deadline will also not be accepted.

  • Can I apply as an individual?

    No. The IIC is open to for-profit and nonprofit organizations only.

  • Will my application be made public?

    Your answers to the “Your Quick Pitch” and “Your Executive Summary” application questions may be shared publicly.

  • Must I submit a video if I am named an IIC Regional Winner?

    Yes. All IIC Regional Winners must submit a three minute (maximum) video that explains their organization’s solution and impact. The video will be used by the Champion Committee to help determine both the four Global Grand Prize Winners.

  • Can I apply in multiple global regions?

    No. Applicants must select one region in which to apply.

  • My organization is impacting workers in multiple global regions. How do I select the region in which to apply?

    You are encouraged to select a region where your work is having the greatest impact, first and foremost. If you are unable to select a region based on this criteria, select the region where your organization is headquartered geographically.

  • Can I apply in multiple categories?

    No. You must select one category. However, the IIC organizing team reserves the right to present you with an award in a different category than the one you originally selected.

  • I am a registered Applicant but would like to change the Region or Award Category that my organization is applying in. May I do so?

    Before submitting your Application, you can easily change the Region or Award Category your organization is applying in within the Application Portal. If you need to change your Region or Award Category after you have submitted your Application, contact us at iic@mit.edu.

  • Can I complete the application in a language other than English?

    All answers must be written in English.