Call for applications: FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards

The FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards, the leading global programme that highlights innovative, long-term private-sector solutions to major development challenges, returns for a sixth year with a special category focused on harnessing technology for people with disabilities.
Application Deadline in a month

The Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, have launched the sixth edition of the FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards.

The 2019 Awards include a new, special category on harnessing technology for people with disabilities, supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The new category was announced by World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva at the Global Disability Summit organised by DFID in July 2018.

The important role of cities in driving progress in sustainable development is highlighted in a revamped category focused on Urban Infrastructure.

The core categories are now all directly related to global efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within this overall focus, special attention will continue to be given to initiatives that address climate change and harness disruptive technologies and business models to increase impact and scale. Innovative financing solutions will also be highlighted, along with the role of institutional investors and other large holders of capital in supporting the SDGs.

The Awards are open to all private sector organisations. Start-ups with innovative solutions and a clear roadmap to financial sustainability are encouraged to apply.

The 2018 Awards attracted 189 entries from 278 organisations involving projects in more than 126 countries.

Core categories for 2019

Transformational Solutions in Urban Infrastructure

This award relates to Sustainable Development Goal 9 “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation”, and Goal 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. It highlights projects that address the most crucial infrastructure needs in the fast-growing cities of the developing world, with long-term socio-economic impact. This category is open to private sector businesses only, but recognises the importance of public-private partnerships in infrastructure and builds on the success of the award for City-Led Transformation, established in partnership with Cities Alliance from 2015 to 2017.

Transformational Solutions in Food, Water and Land

 This award relates to Sustainable Development Goal 2 “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”, and Goal 6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”, with an additional emphasis on access to land, land tenure rights, land management, and land governance – all critical for the achievement of both food and water security.

Transformational Solutions in Health, Wellness and Disease Prevention

 This award relates to Sustainable Development Goal 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. Although significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy in developing economies, much more needs to be done to reduce the mortality rate, particularly among mothers and infants; improve the delivery of medicines, healthcare and health education; reduce the impact of a wide range of diseases; and rapidly address new and emerging health issues. Special attention will be given to innovative, replicable business models that improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare delivery.

Transformational Solutions in Education, Knowledge and Skills

This award relates to Sustainable Development Goal 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, with an additional emphasis on the provision of skills-based training that will empower young people, help them gain employment, and also help entrepreneurs secure their livelihoods, in line with Goal 8: “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”

Special Award: Innovating for Disability

This new category, established in partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), relates to Sustainable Development Goals 4, 8, 10, 11 and 17, and aims to raise global awareness of an area that arguably has been neglected compared to other development challenges. It will showcase solutions that harness the power of innovation and technology to ensure inclusion among people with disabilities, particularly in developing economies. Special attention will be given to initiatives that give access to affordable assistive technologies, bridge the digital divide, and reduce stigma and discrimination.


The deadline for entries is 15 March 2019 at 5pm GMT

Source: Financial Times Live

Illustration Photo: A project in Congo is looking at growing spirulina as the staple diet in the Congo town of Bikoro is cassava, which supplies very little protein. Spirulina could supplement the local diet with much-needed protein as well as vitamin A and iron. The spirulina is dried and powdered, with 10 grams sprinkled on food each day enough to satisfy most dietary requirements – adding a slightly saltier taste to a dish. Employees from the SCK·CEN research centre are working with local entrepreneurs to help make the system a success after beginning in one village. The Arthrospira bacteria – better known as spirulina – have been a staple part of ESA’s space research for many years because they is easy to grow and multiply rapidly. The bacteria turn carbon dioxide into oxygen and can be eaten as a delicious protein-rich supplement. They are also highly resistant to radiation found in outer space. Copyright SCK·CEN

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