Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge

Transformative change can happen only by tapping into the expertise of a broad pool of thinkers and doers. As part of our commitment to building the field of data science for social impact, launched a $10 million Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge.

The challenge is an open call for breakthrough ideas that harness the power of data science to help people and communities thrive especially in the wake of COVID-19’s economic impact.

The Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge Awardees Event

01.28.21 2PM ET

Challenge Overview

As part of our commitment to building the field of data science for social impact, has launched a $10 million Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge.

Any strong and growing economy requires an inclusive and resilient approach to growth to ensure that talent, innovation, and our communities can become stronger in times of stress. By tapping into the expertise of a broad pool of thinkers and doers, we aim to catalyze innovative and scalable solutions to help individuals and communities thrive, all the while building resilience to withstand future challenges.

We recognize that the COVID-19 global pandemic is affecting our society in profound ways and will require new and innovative approaches. Beyond the impacts on public health, the COVID-19 crisis is likely to have severe economic repercussions. Supply chains are being disrupted, businesses are suffering losses, workers are facing unemployment, and too many people lack the savings or credit to weather an economic downturn.

We sought inclusive growth proposals from and for anywhere in the world. The Challenge looked in particular for proposals in the in the areas listed below – but welcomed other proposals for using data science to advance shared prosperity, and help ensure an inclusive recovery.


Leave no worker behind

Low wage workers are among the most vulnerable in today’s economy. In times of economic stress, current trends toward automation and job displacement could accelerate. How can we use data science to help workers remain secure in precarious times? Can data insights predict trends  in the labor market and connect and prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow?


Leave no entrepreneur behind

Unleashing the spirit of grassroots entrepreneurs can help communities rebound by creating much-needed jobs and growing local economies. Yet, in times of recession, the flow of credit to micro and small businesses tends to slow down. How can data science enable microentrepreneurs to gain access to capital? How can data science help us identify micro and small businesses with the potential to grow? How can data insights rethink creditworthiness and unlock capital for high potential business owners?


Leave no place behind

An economic recession will hit some places harder than others. As public and private sector investments flow into cities and towns to stimulate the economy, how can leaders use data-driven insights to make the right decisions to ensure economic security in underserved communities? How can data and analytics help connect neighborhoods to the resources and networks they need to access opportunity,  including quality education, affordable housing and childcare, decent jobs, and transportation? We are seeking applications of data science that can fuel economic growth and empower communities to thrive without further exacerbating inequality.

Want to know more about and data science for social impact?

Challenge Rules & Timeline


The Inclusive Growth & Recovery Challenge accepted submissions from May 19 through July 17, 2020. The Challenge includes two evaluation phases. Mentoring will be available to finalists in the second phase to refine proposal submissions.


The Challenge accepted applications from individual, organization, or collaborations from anywhere in the world1. We welcomed entries from the following:

  • Nonprofits
  • For-profits
  • Individuals 18+ and above
  • Governments and U.N. agencies

All entries must have a charitable purpose and accrue no private benefit.

1 Except for North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Crimea, Syria, and Cuba.


All entries will be evaluated based on the following:


Addressing an important inclusive growth challenge.


Presenting a proposal that can be adapted to different cases.


Creating a project that can be expanded on a larger scale.


Meeting reasonable resource and execution req's with manageable risks.


Designing an insightful and new application of data science.

Have questions? Visit our FAQs page

May 19, 2020

Registration Open

The Challenge is opened for submissions.

May 19 - July 17, 2020

Phase 1 Submission Period

All applicants submit their proposals for eligibility.

July - August 2020

Phase 1 Evaluation Period

Solutions will be evaluated by the judges.

August 2020

Finalists Announced

Shortlisted applicants advance to second round.

September 2020

Phase 2 Submission Period

Finalists must submit their revised proposals.

October - December 2020

Phase 2 Evaluation Period

Final solutions will be evaluated by the judges.

January 2021

Awardees Announced

Challenge winners are selected and announced.

Challenge Judges

Meet the team of experts who will review this year’s submissions.

Chief Transformation Officer

MTN Nigeria

William A. Ackman Professor of Economics/ Director of Opportunity Insights

Harvard University

Founder and Executive Director


Deputy Director,
Financial Services for the Poor

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology

World Food Programme

Founder and Executive Director


Senior Head, UK Portfolio

National Lottery Community Fund

Principal Scientist

“AI for Earth”. Microsoft

Project Lead, Society and Innovation

World Economic Forum


The Rockefeller Foundation

United Nations Undersecretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Managing Director

Census Open Innovation Labs


The Challenge will award up to ten winners with data science talent, software, training, and funding from $10K up to $10 million USD in a mix of grant-funding, technical support & consulting, media production, marketing and promotional outreach, and software & infrastructure licenses.

Awardees may also be presented with additional opportunities for global recognition and media publicity.

Sponsors & Partners

The new is a fiscally sponsored project of New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity, launched by



Interested in partnering with us? Let’s connect.

Want to know more about and data science for social impact?