Brightidea Proud to Support UNFPA, WIPO, and ITU Joint Innovation Challenge to Disrupt Inequality and Empower Women and Girls

March 1, 2022 by Business Wire

The joint challenge running on the Brightidea platform will offer $60,000 grants and mentoring for winning proposals that support scalable, women-centered innovations.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today announced the Innovations to Empower Women and Girls Challenge. The joint challenge supports the development of scalable solutions that can help disrupt inequalities and advance the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity.

UNFPA, in partnership with WIPO and ITU, will conduct this joint challenge using the Solve application on the Brightidea platform to collect submissions, confirm eligibility, evaluate proposals, and select the challenge winners. The three partners will select up to 10 winning proposals and provide grants of up to $60,000 per award. In addition, they will provide technical assistance in key focus areas, including intellectual property management and business modeling, as well as a boot camp and mentorship to support scaling.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress for women and girls, yet it has also sparked important innovations and digital health solutions. The UNFPA-WIPO-ITU Joint Challenge will support women-centered innovations to deliver essential reproductive health supplies, services, and information and to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and child marriage,” said Nigina Muntean, Team Leader of the Innovation Unit in the UNFPA Office of the Executive Director.

“Brightidea is proud to support UNFPA in this significant initiative. Brightidea believes that innovation has the power to make the world a better place. March is Women’s History Month, and this initiative will make the world a better place for Women and Girls,” said Michael O’Toole, Vice President of Services at Brightidea.

Participating companies must meet eligibility criteria and submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by March 31, 2022, to be invited to respond to the Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP submission deadline is May 21, 2022, and the 10 award winners will be selected from a shortlist of 20 proposals in June 2022. Each of the winning companies will be extended a 9-month contract to fully develop and start implementing their plans to transition to scale and will receive technical assistance in key focus areas, including intellectual property (IP) management and business modeling. A virtual boot camp and mentorship for the challenge winners will begin in July 2022 and the companies will spend 9 months developing and beginning to implement plans. In March 2023, companies will report on their results and submit plans and business models that define the next steps to scale up the solution.

EOIs will be evaluated on the following four criteria:

  1. Relevance and alignment of the solution
  2. Novelty of the project and desired stage of development
  3. Sustainability and scalability
  4. Project budget

RFP responses will be evaluated on the following five criteria:

  1. Potential impact on accelerating results for women and girls
  2. Scalability
  3. Process and indicators to determine success/failure
  4. Team and key personnel
  5. Budget

The final selection from the shortlisted RFP responses will be evaluated on the following four criteria:

  1. Concept and solution
  2. Minimum viable product and results
  3. Potential to scale
  4. Communication

UNFPA will finance and co-design the joint challenge, with input from the two partners, and provide oversight and management of the Challenge. WIPO will provide IP management support through a tailored workshop. ITU will facilitate the boot camp and mentorship for winners, and support scaling the plans.

Learn more about the Innovations to Empower Women and Girls Challenge.


The mission of the UN sexual and reproductive health agency is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. The organization was created in 1969, the same year the United Nations General Assembly declared “parents have the exclusive right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”


The World Intellectual Property Organization is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information, and cooperation. It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations with 193 member states. Its mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.


The International Telecommunication Union is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT). It was founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks, allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.


Brightidea launched the first-ever online innovation platform in 2005 and today is the #1 customer-rated platform for managing ideas. It’s designed for any size idea or innovation management initiative, has more than 2.5 million users worldwide, and has delivered more than $15 billion in net benefits to date.

Media Contact
Ben Tomkins
Brightidea, Inc.