Mozilla launches $250k challenge to grow internet access

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Mozilla has launched its US$250,000 Equal Rating Innovation Challenge, which is asking entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and innovators to propose ideas for connecting more people to the internet.

Mozilla said the Equal Rating Innovation Challenge will support promising solutions through expert mentorship and funding of US$250,000 in prize monies split into three categories: best overall, best overall runner-up, and most novel solution.

Submissions open on November 1 for the challenge, with the first round of selections to be announced by mid-January 2017. Finalists will receive mentorship before pitching their ideas in March, with final winners to be announced the same month.

“At Mozilla, we believe the Internet is most powerful when anyone – regardless of gender, income, or geography – can participate equally. However, the digital divide remains a clear and persistent reality,” said Mozilla chief innovation officer Katharina Borchert.

“This challenge is designed to spur innovations for bringing the members of the next billion online. The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge is focused on identifying creative new solutions to connect the unconnected. These solutions may range from consumer products and novel mobile services to new business models and infrastructure proposals.”

Mozilla has also launched EqualRating.com, a website offering educational content and background information to support the challenge. In the coming weeks it will stream a series of webinars stream to further inform potential applicants about the challenge details.

“Connecting the unconnected is one of the greatest challenges of our time. No one organisation or effort can tackle it alone. We must come together and collaborate to build innovative and scalable ways to bring internet access to the next billion – and the other billions, as well,” Borchert said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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