By Meredith Somers, MIT Sloan News Writer
A digital platform connecting farmers and food buyers, an online job portal for people with disabilities, a used electronic device marketplace, a fair trade social network.
The 12 Latin American finalists of the global MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge are “reinventing the future of work in Latin America,” according to the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.
The challenge is the flagship program of the initiative, and brings in competitors from five regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
“If we employ inclusive innovation globally, it could be the best thing that ever happened to humanity,” Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the initiative, said in a statement. “We can have more wealth, better health, and widely held prosperity.”
The 2018 IIC has two rounds, according to the program’s website. The first round involves 12 selected startups across four categories competing at “celebration events” in their home continents.
The four categories are skills development and opportunity matching, financial inclusion, income growth and job creation, and technology access. The competitors are judged on vision, impact, participation, and scalability.
The winner of each category then goes on to compete in November during the Global Grand Prize Gala at MIT. The gala includes four $250,000 prizes, one for each category.
The Latin American finalists are traveling to São Paulo, Brazil, in early August, where they will pitch their ideas at the IIC Latin America Celebration.
The 12 Latin American finalists are:
Skills development and opportunity matching
Interacpedia connects university student teams with organizations to generate the development of new skills/jobs and opportunities.
Signa is a platform that provides deaf people with online digital economy courses.
Suma is a fair marketing platform that connects family farmers with food buyers.
Income growth and job creation
Alò Bodega is a mobile app for Latin American and Asian corner stores.
Apli is an artificial intelligence-enabled jobs marketplace.
Incluyeme is an online job portal for people in Latin America with disabilities.
Grupo Nueva Economía
Grupo Nueva Economía is developing new digital channels for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Outbound Initiative connects innovators from underrepresented regions — in this case Brazil — with business opportunities using data-combing artificial intelligence.
RedeDots is a social network of more than 220,000 people engaged in the fair trade and sustainable business market.
LEVEE uses machine learning, geolocation, and mobile messages to connect people with job opportunities.
Trocafone aims to reduce e-waste by creating a marketplace for used electronics.
UnDosTres offers Mexico residents mobile payment for services like prepaid cellphone recharging, movie ticket purchases, electricity, and phone bills.