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What’s your innovation to a global grand challenge in the Guajira region that leverages exponential technology and has a potential to impact a billion people in 10 years?


The purpose of the SingularityU Colombia Global Impact Challenge is to foster innovations and startups that positively impact the lives of people living in the Guajira region, with an ability to scale and impact a billion people worldwide in 10 years.

Why Host a Global Impact Challenge in Colombia?

La Guajira is probably the poorest region in Colombia, with the worst social, economic, institutional, environmental indicators of the country. Most of its population is part of an ethnic group and live in rural areas scattered across the whole region. More than 45% of the population live in small rural villages (clans) scattered in the territory with no access to basic needs such as electricity, water, sewage systems and receive low-quality education and health.

Nevertheless, it’s geographic location is truly privileged. It has the potential to be a hub for the Caribbean. It is the second best spot in the Americas for Eolic energy, and its climate gives plenty of sun for solar energy. The potential for tourism is huge as the region contains a multicultural society, mountain, desert, sea, and rivers.

This challenge aims to understand how we could take advantage of the large energetic and cultural potential of the region, so that local communities could participate from the opportunities of the digital economy, breaking the current poverty circle. Dimensions of the challenge include reforesting, water, energy, health, connectivity and transportation, agriculture, cultural and creative industries.

What innovation would you develop to solve one or more of the aforementioned dimensions of the challenge using exponential technology?

The Prize

  • Opportunity to join Singularity University virtual entrepreneurs community.
  • The GIC’s finalists will receive tickets to attend the first SingularityU Colombia Summit.
  • A year-long accompaniment through one of the programs of EAN Institute for Sustainable Development, which is ranked among the top 12 university incubators worldwide, according to UBI global.

Dates and timeline

Applications open: October 16, 2018
GIC Workshop– To beheld in EAN University, Bogotá, Colombia: November 1, 2018
Applications close: November 12, 2018
Pitch Event: November 26, 23018
Winners announced: November 28, 2018 during the SingularityU Colombia Summit

Main sponsor:

GIC Colombia Sponsors INNpulsa

Supporting sponsors:

GIC Colombia Sponsor Cerrejón Minería responsable

GIC Colombia Sponsor Universidad EAN

Rules & Criteria

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • This GIC is open to residents and citizens of everywhere in the world
  • You must be at least 21 years of age at the time of application
  • You must be fluent in written and spoken English
  • You must be able to be in Bogotá, Colombia, between the 26th and 29th of November to attend the GIC.

We look for people from all professional backgrounds, but will be really thrilled to find you if:

  • You’re a founder of an idea-stage startup or an individual with an innovative idea which can be pertinent for the Guajira region’s needs
  • You’re an accomplished entrepreneur, technologist, scientist, or change agent with expertise in your chosen field(s)
  • You’re already considering how to leverage exponential technologies to create positive impact in the world
  • You’re committed to the long-term journey of launching an impact-focused startup
  • Degree of solution’s relevance to the theme of the challenge
  • The regional relevance in solving the challenge in the Guajira region
  • Feasibility, Viability and Coherence of implementing the idea
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative potential, with a focus on technological novelty
  • Applicant’s leadership experience and quality, profile, achievements, and potential
  • CV/Resume
  • Summary of accomplishments
  • An abstract of the project idea
    • Within the abstract, describe and detail the following: your idea and problem/opportunity you are addressing, your solution and long-term impact, applied technology for your solution, and your business model
  • A video URL of the project idea
  • Applications open: October 16, 2018
  • GIC Workshop– To beheld in EAN University, Bogotá, Colombia: November 1, 2018
  • Applications close: November 12, 2018
  • Pitch Event: November 26, 23018
  • Winners announced: November 28, 2018 during the SingularityU Colombia Summit

GIC Organizing Team

Claudia Aparicio GIC Colombia Organizer

Claudia Aparicio

Executive Director, Dividendo por Colombia

GSP 2014

Miguel Olarte GIC Colombia Organizer

Miguel Olarte

Innovation Director, Innpulsa

Frequently Asked Questions

Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are annual incentive competitions held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and organized by geography and theme. These challenges act as a platform to identify outstanding entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, and engineers with the most innovative ideas for moonshot innovations and startups that can positively impact a billion people in 10 years. The winner of each challenge receives a full sponsorship to attend an SU program.

We are looking for early-phase startup ideas or individuals with a moonshot ideas. Judging criteria is based on the grandness of the idea—such as whether it solves a problem with a potential to positively impact millions of people, technological novelty, viability of implementing it and applicants leadership potential.

Intellectual property resulting from a GIC belongs to the applicant(s).

The selection process has 2-3 phases, depending on the GIC. The first phase involves a review of all applications to determine 5-10 finalists, and the second phase involves final judging to select the winner at a pitch event.

The winner is responsible for their own travel expenses to/from locations.


Still have questions?

Get in touch with the Colombia GIC organizers by emailing them at [email protected], or contact the Global Impact Challenges team at SU at [email protected].