2023 Fully Funded Ashoka Green Changemakers Challenge in USA

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Application Deadline: March 29, 2023

Ashoka and HSBC are collaborating for the third year, to launch the ‘Green Changemakers Challenge.’ This global innovation challenge is open to changemakers with solutions that are equipping others with the mindset and capabilities to contribute towards building a sustainable and equitable world.

The threats facing our planet are gaining pace, and we find ourselves racing towards an ecological crisis. This is a collective challenge, and to truly create change, we need more than individual solution-builders – we need green changemakers who are catalyzing those around them to also take action; we need solutions that are activating others and creating a role for everyone to contribute as problem-solvers.

Focus Areas:

We are searching for green changemakers who are:

  • Creating inclusive pathways for people to contribute: We’re seeking solutions that are bringing more people into the climate conversation, especially those who have historically been excluded. These solutions are equitable by design and increase diversity in the global community working on climate change.

  • Turning data and information into stories that spark action: We’re seeking solutions that are making climate data and knowledge more accessible, and those that are telling inspiring stories to mobilize others to action.

  • Creating structures of support for existing solutions: We’re seeking solutions that are built to support other solutions – by enabling the creation of new solutions; scaling existing solutions or making them more visible; and prioritizing the traditional knowledge of those communities who have always preserved our natural resources.

Eligibility Criteria:

To apply:

  • Your venture must be at an early- or mid- stage. Late-stage ventures (over 6 years of operations and/or profitability) will not be eligible for selection in this challenge

  • You must be 18 or above at the time of submitting this application

  • If your solution has not been implemented at scale; you must have a clear business plan and a minimum-viable solution (prototype, pilot, or another proof of concept)

  • If your venture is not incorporated yet (as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization); you must be close to incorporation in the near future

  • Entries will only be accepted in English (winners will be expected to engage in activities that require English proficiency)

  • We are open to entries that are registered or in the process of registering in any of the following 34 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vietnam

Additional terms:

  • Only one application per individual/venture will be accepted

  • Employees of HSBC, advertising agencies, promotion agencies and other service providers for this Challenge, their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, regardless of where they reside) are not eligible

  • Partners or past HSBC challenge winners or initiatives that are already financed or supported by HSBC, its affiliates, subsidiaries or joint ventures are not eligible

    Evaluation Criteria:

    • Connection and commitment: You have a strong commitment to green changemaking. Due to your proximity to the problem and/or connection to the community impacted, your approach to taking action involves community participation.
    • Activating green changemakers: Your approach enables other people to identify as green changemakers. It multiplies changemakers, activates them to take action and build solutions for a sustainable and equitable world.
    • Impact: Your solution contributes to a zero-carbon world – where people and the planet can both thrive. In this vision for a sustainable and equitable future, your solution has sufficient evidence of its scale, depth and/or speed of socio-environmental impact.
    • Innovation: Your solution is original and creative. This might involve inventing something new, novel use of technology, or applying existing approaches in new ways or to a new context. We are particularly interested in solutions that use regenerative approaches to spark mindset shifts that lead to widespread change.
    • Operational viability: Your initiative must have realistic plans for continuing to create impact in the long-run through (a) the feasibility, scalability, replicability and adaptability of your solution in local contexts; and (b) mobilizing resources such as team members, partnerships, funding or other support networks.

    In addition to our evaluation criteria described above, the group of winning teams will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received and the diversity of the field. Diversity will refer to: gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race and age. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project, its partners or the team representing it.

    Prizes and Benefits:

    Early Entry applicants (those who apply on or before March 29) will:

    • Receive Ashoka’s feedback on how to improve their application before the Final entry deadline
    • 3 participants from this group will be selected to receive a $1,500 prize each and will be featured on a social media post

    All eligible applicants will:

    • Receive feedback from Ashoka and/or HSBC representative
    • Have a chance to connect with a community of green changemakers through this Challenge

      All semi-finalists (up to 60) will:

      • Have a chance to refine their applications and incorporate feedback received in the screening phase
      • Be celebrated as semi-finalists in the announcement communications

        All finalists (up to 25) will:

        • Have a chance to be evaluated by a panel of expert judges and receive feedback.

        The challenge will have up to 12 winners, who will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received from the 3 focus areas and geographic regions. The Challenge Team will decide funding amounts awarded to each winner. Winning applications will:

        • Receive a minimum $15,000 and up to $25,000 cash prize
        • Have the opportunity to participate in a learning journey & mentoring programme alongside HSBC and Ashoka team members, to help scale your solution.

        Visit the official website for details and application