SingularityU West Africa Global Impact Challenge

A moonshot idea addresses a huge problem, proposes a radical solution, and uses breakthrough technology.

What moonshot idea do you have to positively impact the lives of millions of people in West Africa using exponential technology to address a global grand challenge?

Submit your idea by April 7, 2017.

Cecil Senna Nutakor

2017 Winner
Cecil Senna Nutakor

Areas of expertise: Technology/Science, Entrepreneur/Intrapreneur, Energy, Networks & Computing Science

Winning idea: eCampus for Climate Change

eCampus is a mobile learning application that literally puts the classroom and or learning materials in your palm that develops interactive content around fact-finding missions on the negative impacts of Climate Change across the globe.


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

This year, we are ideally looking for applicants who have the skills and passion to develop and launch a startup company around a moonshot idea that addresses climate change, although we will also accept outstanding applicants who have other areas of expertise or choose to innovate in other fields.

We selected the climate change theme because it has consequences for every industry, geographic region, and way of life. Even if you don’t consider yourself a climate change authority or innovator, your skill set can probably help mitigate the effects of climate change. If you’re already passionate about impact or working in the impact space, you can create a moonshot innovation to address this urgent global problem.

We will not require participants to innovate in the climate change space, and welcome people from all disciplines to apply, but this theme will inform the program curriculum. We are looking for applicants from ANY technology or science discipline because we know a challenge as huge as climate change can only be solved within the convergence of multiple disciplines and exponential technologies.

What moonshot innovation would you develop to solve a global grand challenge (environment, energy, water, food, health, disaster resilience, governance, learning, space, security, prosperity, and shelter) using exponential technology that would impact the lives of a billion people in the next 10 years?

The prizes

The winner of this challenge will secure full sponsorship to attend the prestigious Global Solutions Program at Singularity University. The program runs from June 17 to August 17, 2017, and will be held on the SU campus at NASA Research Park in the heart of Silicon Valley.

But wait! There’s more!

All semi-finalists and finalists of this challenge will be invited to participate in an immersive workshop experience in Lagos, Nigeria during the week of April 17. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about exponential technologies and the latest entrepreneurial tools! Make sure you have your passport and visa ready!

Dates and timeline

Applications open: February 16, 2017
Applications close: April 7, 2017
Finalist decisions: April 11, 2017
Innovation workshop: April 17, 2017
Pitch event & winner announced: April 18, 2017

Sponsored by:

Mest logoImaginarium logo

Einstein Ntim

Adaptability: The Entrepreneur’s Way

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A group of people at GSP16

The first five weeks of GSP16

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Woman on stage speaking into a microphone

Five big ideas from GSP16

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Rules & Criteria

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The challenge is open to residents and citizens in the 15 West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo
  • You must be age 21 or older on the first day of the GSP
  • You must be fluent in written and spoken English
  • You must be able to participate for the entire GSP 2017 program from June 17 – August 17, 2017
  • Applicants selected as finalists will be interviewed by a panel of judges during the week of April 3.

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

  • You’re an accomplished entrepreneur, technologist, scientist, or change agent with expertise in your chosen field(s)
  • You have a background in or a passion for addressing climate change or are working to address any of the direct or indirect effects of climate change, such as governance, security, sustainable water supplies, and alternative food or energy sources
  • 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

We will evaluate submissions using the following criteria:

  • Degree of the solution’s relevance to the theme of the challenge
  • The regional relevance in solving the challenge in West Africa
  • 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 or resume
  • Summary of accomplishments
  • An abstract of the project idea
  • A video URL of the project idea
  • Applications open: February 16, 2017
  • Applications close: April 7, 2017
  • Finalist decisions: April 11, 2017
  • Innovation workshop: April 17, 2017
  • Pitch event & winner announced: April 18, 2017

GIC Organizing Team

Neku Atawodi-Edun

Neku Atawodi-Edun

General Manager, MEST Incubator Nigeria
Volunteer, SingularityU West Africa GIC

Uly Ogwah

Uly Ogwah

Founder, African Art Archive
SU Impact Fellow, Global Summit 2016

Ferdinand Adimefe

Ferdinand Adimefe

Founder/CEO, Imaginarium
Volunteer, SingularityU West Africa GIC

Myvonne Alasia

Myvonne Alasia

Online Community Specialist, Imaginarium
Volunteer, SingularityU West Africa GIC

Ifeoma Degge

Ifeoma Degge

Founder, Virtual Help NG
Volunteer, SingularityU West Africa GIC

Oluseye Soyode-Johnson

Oluseye Soyode-Johnson

Country Program Manager, Space Apps Nigeria
Volunteer, SingularityU West Africa GIC

Chibuike Goodnews

Chibuike Goodnews

Dochase Adverts
Volunteer, SingularityU West Africa GIC

Tobi Lafinhan

Tobi Lafinhan

Operations, MEST Incubator Nigeria
Volunteer, SingularityU West Africa GIC

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 our transformational Global Solutions Program.


No, ideas do not have to be at a certain stage to be submitted.

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.

No, there’s no such obligation from either SU or the GIC Sponsor. The GIC winner can elect to recruit fellow GSP classmates to work on his or her winning project or create an entirely new project during the summer.

GIC winners are responsible for their own travel expenses to/from SU.

In all cases where a GIC winner cannot attend GSP, the winner forfeits his or her GSP seat to the first runner-up and would then need to reapply for admission in a future year.


Still have questions?

Get in touch with the West Africa GIC organizers by emailing them at
[email protected], or contact the Global Impact Challenges team at SU at [email protected]. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to connect with us on social media.

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