Hosted by:
UNDP & Slovak Ministry of Finance

Innovation Challenge Fund

Submission deadline:
September 30, 2020


The Covi​d-19 will have a long-term impact on the future of economy, work, governance, and health. We are looking for innovative solutions that will reimagine these to help us recover from the pandemic and prepare for the future. The Innovation Challenge, hosted by UNDP and the Slovak Ministry of Finance, is accepting solutions to the effects of the pandemic in the following issue areas: new digital services and voice, low touch economies, wellbeing.

The BOOST acceleration program will support the implementation and scaling of these solutions across the Europe and Central Asia region. 15 applicants will be selected to join the BOOST acceleration program and up to five will be selected for funding. Winners will receive up to $15,000 to prototype and implement solutions. Solutions should be applied in more than one country and enhance regional collaboration in addressing the crisis.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant must be a registered entity in Europe and Central Asia, or in a consortium with an entity in the region.
  • The project must be implemented in the Europe and Central Asia region.
  • The project must have a regional dimension.

Selection Criteria

  • Scalability​: Solutions that arescalable across countries.
  • Viability​: Where necessary, the applicant is required to engage partners to ensure viability in the local context.
  • 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.


27 July:
Open Call
30 September:
Submission Deadline
Participants Announcement
October - December 2020:
BOOST Program Delivery
January 2021:
Winners Announcement

Who can apply

Type of applicant:
Academia, CSOs, Private sector (including social enterprises)
List of eligible countries:
Eastern Europe and Central Asia


Low touch economy

New Digital Services & Voice



BOOST is an intensive six-month online acceleration program designed to prepare organizations and businesses to roll out their digital solutions. This will include both workshops and individual mentoring sessions taught by experienced business, med-tech, social-tech, digital technologies and impact professionals. BOOST will support a wide-range of solutions and organizations under one umbrella program.

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
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 for the Innovation Challenge consists of four online components (see below) and mentorship, including 1-on-1 sessions with field experts. Organizations will take part only in the tracks and activities that are outlined in their personalized plan based on prior needs assessment at the beginning of the program.
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 applicants to define, assess and manage their digital strategy while rethinking their business models. The track helps applicants establish a framework and assess their current approach to digital technology while building a consensus on how a digital strategy can transform their impact.

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 applicants, which will enhance their to diversify their funding resources and adapt their business models. 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
Innovation Fund Challenge
Join our program

About the Ministry of Finance of Slovakia

The Innovation Challenge is funded by the Transformative Governance and Finance Facility (TGFF), a joint undertaking by UNDP and the Ministry of Finance of Slovakia. TGFF supports the region to harness the potential of the data revolution, new technologies and other innovations for improved governance and sustainable development. This will be achieved through engagement of citizens in new technologies and data, collaborative platforms on regional and national level, and the use of alternative finance.