MIT’s 2018 Inclusive Innovation Challenge Launches in Europe

MIT IIC collaborates with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to celebrate and support European entrepreneurs that are improving economic opportunity for workers.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 6, 2018 – Today the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) announced the launch of its annual Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) with expanded global reach in 2018. Collaborating with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the IIC will seek to identify and promote entrepreneurial organizations in Europe that are using technology to improve economic opportunity for low and moderate income earners in the region. Judges will select twelve regional IIC winners to receive monetary prizes, recognition, and promotion at the IIC Europe Celebration held in Darmstadt, Germany on September 10, 2018. (Four Regional Winners will each win $20,000, and eight Finalists will each win $5,000.) Following this event, four Europe Regional Winners will advance to the IIC Global Grand Prize Celebration hosted at MIT in Cambridge, MA in the fall of 2018. $1 million in prize money will be awarded to four Global Grand Prize Winners, selected from Regional Winners from around the world. For- and non-profit organizations operating primarily in Europe and/or those that are based in the region are encouraged to apply at

The MIT IIC was launched two years ago to recognize and celebrate organizations around the world that are using technology to solve a grand challenge of our time — to create not only prosperity, but shared prosperity by reinventing the future of work in the digital era.

In the first two years, over 1,500 inclusive innovation organizations responded to the IIC, illustrating the momentum of the growing global future of work movement. Over 230 Core 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.

Based on data from the 2016 global Challenge, the MIT IIC determined that Inclusive Innovators accomplish their goals primarily in four ways. These four paths to increased shared prosperity make up the 2018 IIC Award Categories: Financial Inclusion; Income Growth & Job Creation; Skills Development & Opportunity Matching; and Technology Access.

Previous MIT IIC Winners operating in Europe or founded by European entrepreneurs include AID:Tech, LeadGenius, Ignitia, and EFL. Learn more about 2016 and 2017 MIT IIC Winners at

“The grand challenge of our era is to use digital technologies to create not only prosperity, but shared prosperity,” Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. “We can only address this Challenge by relying on the innovative genius of entrepreneurs from the global community.”

The IIC is funded with support from; ISN®; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation; Accenture Digital; Via Varejo; Somos; Joseph Eastin; Gustavo Pierini; and Gustavo Marini.

Join the Movement

The MIT IIC is dedicated to the promotion of sustainable, scalable global inclusive innovation. We engage U.S. and international media to report on solutions that can be harnessed today. We also connect winners with key ecosystem players and investors,while providing insights to government and policy makers. Smart capital investment and policies, we believe, can give us the best of both worlds: all the benefits that come from the technology breakthroughs of today and tomorrow and jobs that provide dignity and a good paycheck. We invite you to join us by embracing and supporting inclusive innovators and their equitable solutions to reinventing the future of work for all humans, not just an elite few.

The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) explores how people and businesses will work, interact, and prosper in an era of profound digital transformation. Working alone and with public and private sector partners, the IDE supports and conducts groundbreaking research in the areas of productivity and employment, big data, new digital business models, and social analytics. The IDE sponsors fellowships; hosts competitions, conferences, and roundtables; and supports other events that inspire new ideas. The IDE believes that challenges posed by the digital economy not only are solvable, but that technology will create new opportunities for people and businesses to thrive. To learn more, please visit or follow on Twitter @MIT_IDE.

For further information, contact:

MIT IDE/IIC Media Contact: Shannon Farrelly,

MIT IIC Contact: Susan Young,

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Media Contact: Shenja Schaefer,

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Contact: Ulrich Betz,