MIT Solve announces 2019 Indigenous Communities Fellowship

Photo courtesy: Christopher Gower

Fellowship seeks entrepreneurs within the Oceti Sakowin, Navajo Nation, and Hopi Tribe communities

News Release

MIT Solve

MIT Solve today announced the launch of the 2019 Indigenous Communities Fellowship for tech entrepreneurs within the Oceti Sakowin, Navajo Nation, and Hopi Tribe communities with solutions that support and scale economic development and resiliency. The application is open for submissions through March 1, 2019. Selected Fellows will receive a minimum of $10,000 in funding for their projects

Over the past few months, MIT Solve held workshops and community conversations with tribal members, academics, and local nonprofits across the mid- and south-west, from Pine Ridge, South Dakota to Thoreau, New Mexico, to ensure that the theme of the 2019 Fellowship Challenge is informed by--and relevant to--the communities its solutions will serve.

“It's been fantastic to meet other people who are genuinely interested in working with us,” said Joe McNeil (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), one of Solve’s 2018 Oceti Sakowin Fellows, regarding the 2018 Solve at MIT event. “To have that kind of expertise that is seemingly almost at our fingertips at this point, is something that I've never experienced before.”

In addition to funding for their projects, selected Fellows will take part an all-expenses-paid trip to the MIT campus for Solve’s flagship event in May, Solve at MIT, to share ideas and build partnerships with the Solve community. **“**Coming here to Solve and MIT has been quite an experience, seeing what is on the forefront of innovation, as well as starting to partner up with these special people,” said Henry Red Cloud (Oglala Lakota), a Solve 2018 Oceti Sakowin Fellow.

“We believe that talent and ingenuity are everywhere,” said Alex Amouyel, Executive Director at MIT Solve. “After a successful pilot last year selecting six Fellows from Oceti Sakowin with projects ranging from solar power retrofits to seasonal entrepreneur courses for community gardeners, we’re excited to review this year’s solutions from local innovators.”

Through the 2019 Indigenous Communities Fellowship, MIT Solve welcomes applications from tech entrepreneurs within the Oceti Sakowin, Navajo Nation, and Hopi Tribe communities. Submitted solutions must include use of technology for practical and functional purposes. This can be high-tech or low-tech: examples include software (mobile app), hardware (computers, phones, connectivity), agriculture (seeds, irrigation), and manufacturing.

Solve welcomes solutions that address the challenge question “How can indigenous communities use technology while incorporating traditional and ancestral knowledge to create sustainable and prosperous livelihoods for themselves?” along with the following criteria:

  • Enable new skill development and create employment opportunities that help sustain natural and cultural resources
  • Support native youth in creating new business ventures
  • Provide access to technology and connectivity
  • Connect local entrepreneurs and business owners to accessible capital and markets

Those interested in submitting solutions to Solve's 2019 Indigenous Communities Fellowship can apply through March 1, 2019 at solve.mit.edu.

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