Hosted by:
UNDP & Koç Holding

Civil Society Technology Challenge

Submission deadline:
September 30, 2020

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The current crisis makes adapting to the new normal and transforming ways of operation  a critical necessity for civil society organizations (CSOs). 

UNDP and Koç Holding have joined forces to accelerate the digital transformation of CSOs to increase their impact and outreach. In line with this objective, the primary goal of the Civil Society Technology Challenge is to mobilize tools, expertise and networks to accelerate the use of digital technologies during this transformation. After the completion of this program, participant CSOs will have the necessary firsthand experience to design, implement and adapt their work to the digital realm through a specific solution. They will be able to transfer this know how into other areas within their organization and respective work.

All CSOs that are seeking to embark on a digital transformation journey are encouraged to apply. For the first phase of the Civil Society Technology Challenge, twenty CSOs will be selected and will:

  • Engage in an intensive learning program on digital transformation, technology for impact and crowdfunding;
  • Explore 1-1 mentorship opportunities with key experts to develop a project that uses digital technologies to innovate, scale and increase impact on development issues;
  • Connect with global and local experts in technology, innovation and sustainable development to formulize key steps and actions for the digital transformation roadmap of the organization;
  • Become part of the BOOST regional network for exchange and collaboration with international organizations and innovators.

After the completion of this phase (by the end of December 2020), out of the 20 organisations, five CSOs will be selected for one-on-one acceleration support for an additional 24-weeks. Each will receive up to USD 10,000 to prototype, implement and scale-up their project idea. 

The BOOST acceleration program will support the development and implementation of these solutions proposed by CSOs in Turkey and across Europe and Central Asia region. The proposed solutions and projects need to be at a concept stage during the first submission. 


Criteria and Eligibility information (in Turkish)

Privacy Notice (in English)

Challenge FAQ (in Turkish)

Eligibility criteria

  • Must be registered in Turkey as an association, foundation, cooperative,  working to address and offer solutions for environmental and social issues.
  • The organization must have a vision and commitment to developing and implementing a digital transformation strategy on the basis of the proposed solution.
  • Must be operational for at least three years.
  • Must have an annual revenue/ income and/or donations of at least 2.000.000 Turkish Liras.
  • Due to the requirements of the program, the proposed two participants should be proficient in English.

Selection criteria

  • Scalability: Solutions that are scalable across countries.
  • Viability: Where necessary, the applicant is required to engage partners to ensure viability.
  • Management: The applicant must demonstrate it has an adequate team in place and will have the capacity to implement the solution in 3–6 months
  • Potential for impact: Solutions that can improve the livelihoods of the most vulnerable groups.
  • Innovation: Solutions that use cutting-edge technologies, social and digital innovation tools and that transform current business models with digitalization
  • Effectiveness: Solutions that demonstrate how they will tackle one of the issues areas impacted by Covid-19 in the long-term.


10 August:
Open Call
30 September:
Submission Deadline
Participants Announcement
October – December 2020:
BOOST Program Delivery
January 2021
Winners Announcement

Who can apply

Type of applicant:
Civil society organizations
List of eligible countries:


New Digital Services & Voice


BOOST is an intensive six-month online acceleration program designed to prepare CSOs to roll out their digital solutions and transform their existing or new projects using technology. The program will include both workshops and individual mentoring sessions taught by experienced business, social-tech, digital technologies and impact professionals. The working language of the program will be English.

BOOST Journey

1 Launch of open call
2 Announcement of winners
3 Needs assessment of organizations
4 Sensemaking workshop 1 (for all)
5 Digital Transformation and Tech Track; Business and Impact Track and/or Digital Crowdfunding Academy
6 Sensemaking workshop 2 (for all)
7 Pitching
final granting
8 Final completion of projects
of projects
9 Evaluation
The selected organizations will pass a needs assessment prior to the program launch, and will receive a personalized plan to follow specific tracks. The BOOST acceleration program consists of four online components (Sensemaking workshops, Digital Transformation and Tech, Business and Impact Track, Crowdfunding Academy) and mentorship, including 1-on-1 sessions with field experts. Organizations will take part only in the components and activities that are outlined in their personalized plan. The BOOST acceleration program has four main components:
Sensemaking Workshops (mandatory):

BOOST will kick-off with a sensemaking workshop that will support organizations in navigating a world of rapidly increasing complexity through strategic and transformative innovation. It will utilize tools and frameworks that will seek to address the effects of the pandemic through establishing strategic relevance of activities, ensuring program coherence, generating network effects and accelerating portfolio impact.

Digital Transformation and Tech Track (mandatory):

The Digital Transformation and Tech Track consists of a personalized journey through a series of workshops and mentorship guidance, helping them to define, assess and manage their digital strategy while rethinking their ways of operation and projects. The track will help CSOs establish a framework and assess their current approach to digital technology while building a consensus on how a digital strategy can transform their impact based on a specific project concept.

Business and Impact Tracks (optional)

A deep dive into the social, environmental and economic dimensions of impact, this track is intended to help applicants map and use the theory of change and impact value chain. From value proposition to design thinking, the business training aims to provide the teams with a validated tool to define, clarify, and understand the value of innovation efforts, giving teams the confidence required to commit fully to the objective. Workshops will go through how teams should position themselves for success and explore the many concepts necessary for making intelligent, strategic decisions while validating the viability of a new idea.

Digital Crowdfunding Academy (optional):

BOOST offers access to the UNDP Europe and Central Asia Digital Crowdfunding Academy for CSOs, which will enhance the capacities of CSOs to diversify their funding resources and adapt their business models for the proposed project. The online training program empowers and builds organizational capacity with new knowledge and skills necessary to prepare and run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The BOOST acceleration program will be conducted through an online-based platform which will encourage experience sharing and collaboration between teams. Each of the online sessions will be led by experienced industry experts. Mentorship and guidance will continue following the end of the training program. The solutions will be supported by our established UNDP and innovation partnership network to ensure their scalability and transformative nature.

Apply today for the
Civil Society Technology Challenge
Join the program

About Koç Holding

Koç Holding is the leading investment holding company that focuses on sustainable and profitable growth in Turkey and international markets. Believing that strong and stable communities are vital foundations for building successful business, Koç Holding focuses on driving large-scale programmes that target widespread change. Koç Holding has been a first-mover in supporting many community investment initiatives over the years. In order to use its scale and trigger positive change, Koç Holding also mobilizes its Group companies to create momentum with their employees and partners.


Accelerator Program Implementation Partner: KWORKS

Koç University Entrepreneurship Center (KWORKS) serves as a hub of entrepreneurship activity in Istanbul, assisting tech startups grow into sustainable, scalable, successful ventures. KWORKS connects technology entrepreneurs to valuable resources, experienced mentors and potential investors to set them on the right path. KWORKS also contributes to the growth of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Turkey by offering various programs and trainings, aiming to facilitate innovation and digital transformation in established organizations.