How BOOST works

Do you have a solution that tackles development issues impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic?

BOOST aims to fast-track innovative solutions promoting low-touch economies, digitalization, and wellbeing that will help us to reimagine a more sustainable future after Covid-19.

BOOST brings together a diverse set of partners to support innovators in addressing the medium-term impact of the crisis. It does so by balancing local needs with leveraging capabilities across the region.

Who can apply?

Applicants can be private sector entities, including social enterprises, SMEs or startups, research institutes, and academia, or civil society organizations, including youth organizations.

Each challenge clearly outlines which type of applicants are eligible and from what countries. For example, for the Polish Challenge Fund, we will only accept applications from private sector entities (commercial companies), universities, and research institutes registered in Poland, who will implement projects in Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus.

See Challenges and Apply

Selection Criteria

  • Scalability​: Solutions that are scalable across countries.
  • Viability​: Where necessary, the applicant is required to engage partners to ensure
  • 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​:​ The applicant must demonstrate it has an adequate team in place and will have the capacity to implement the solution in 3–6 months
  • 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.

An international jury consisting of partners, renowned professionals, and UNDP experts will select the winning ideas in October.


27 July:
Open Call
30 September:
Submission Deadline
Winners Announcement
October – December 2020:
BOOST program
Demo Day

What do I get
if selected?

Join a supportive community of changemakers, funders, and experts to help advance your innovative work through our six-month program;

Receive mentorship and strategic advice from UNDP, donors, and partners;

Access our global UNDP network present in over 170 countries;

Receive access to over $400,000 in prize funding for our 2020 challenges.


BOOST is an intensive six-month online acceleration program that ​supports different solutions and types of applicants under one umbrella program. Browse our open challenges and apply by September 30. Some challenges have differing submission deadlines. The selected applicants 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 tracks (see below) and mentorship, including 1-on-1 sessions with field experts.

Applicants will take part only in the tracks and activities that are outlined in their personalized plan based on the needs assessment carried out at the beginning of the program during the onboarding phase.

The BOOST acceleration program will be conducted through an online-based platform that 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.

Sensemaking Workshops (mandatory):

BOOST will kick-off with a sensemaking workshop that will support applicants 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 the 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 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 and 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 designed 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 the capacities of applicants 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.

How the BOOST acceleration program works:

Selected applicants will gain access to a total of $400,000 in prize funding. Distributed grants ​depend on the viability, scalability, and sustainability of presented solutions. Overall, funding will be disbursed in tranches upon the completion of milestones but this may differ for each challenge. Awarded prizes should be used to ensure the viability and implementation of the solutions. ​The solutions will also be supported by our established UNDP and innovation partnership network to ensure their scalability and transformative nature.

Join the BOOST community!

Apply for a challenge and be the innovative mind that helps battle the impact of Covid-19.

Аll Challenges