The purpose of the SingularityU Japan Global Impact Challenge is to foster moonshot innovations and startups that positively impact the lives of people living in Japan, with an ability to scale and impact a billion people worldwide in 10 years.
The challenge we face
Our society is full of great convenience. But, still, we fall short in creating a society that has zero problems. From polluted emissions, homelessness, and popping-up disputes, to late disease detection and acute mental health needs, Japan has many challenges.
Under SONY’s theme “Road to Zero” and Sony’s global environmental plan, we are aiming to create a society that could use exponential technologies such as AI, robotics, biotech, and nanotech to address our biggest problems.
This year, for the first time, we are ideally looking for applicants who have the skills and passion to develop a moonshot idea and launch a startup company that addresses climate change, although we will also accept outstanding candidates who have other areas of expertise or choose to innovate in other fields.
Climate change is a broad focus area that includes many areas ripe for innovation. For example, if you're developing sustainable food sources or alternative energy sources, developing governance models for policy, or focused on issues such as biodiversity or water access, you already fall within the climate change theme and should definitely apply.
Again, we welcome entrepreneurs, technologists, scientists, and other experts from all disciplines to apply, and we will not require participants to only innovate in the climate change space.
What moonshot innovation would you develop to solve a global grand challenge (environment, energy, water, food, health, disaster resilience, governance, learning, space, security, prosperity, or shelter) using exponential technology that would impact the lives of a billion people in the next 10 years?
The winner of this challenge will secure a full sponsorship to attend the prestigious Global Solutions Program at Singularity University. The program runs from June 17 to August 17, 2017, and is held on the SU campus at NASA Research Park.
Dates and timeline
Applications open: November 19, 2016
Applications close: January 31, 2017
Pitch event: February 25, 2017
Winners announced: February 25, 2017
Rules & Criteria
Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- The challenge is open to residents and citizens of Japan
- You must be age 21 or older on the first day of the GSP
- You must be fluent in written and spoken English
- You must be able to participate in the entire GSP17 program from June 17 - August 17, 2017
You’re an ideal candidate if you:
- Are an experienced entrepreneur who has already turned over at least one successful company, and are ready to do it again in the impact space
- Are an accomplished technologist, scientist, or change agent and are recognized as a thought leader in your chosen field(s)
- Have a background in or a passion for addressing climate change
- Have an innovative solution to an urgent global challenge—ideally, but not limited to, climate change—that leverages exponential technologies and can positively impact a billion people within 10 years
- Are prepared to commit to launching a startup around your innovation and remaining attached to that venture, wherever the journey may lead post-GSP, based on your GSP team project
We will evaluate submissions using the following criteria:
- Degree of the solution's relevance to the theme of the challenge
- The regional relevance in solving the challenge in Japan
- Coherence of the idea and the feasibility and viability of implementing it
- Entrepreneurial and innovative potential, with a focus on technological novelty
- Quality of applicants' leadership experience, profile, achievements, and potential
GIC Organizing Team
Researcher, Entrepreneur, Visionary
GSP09 and GIC Organizer
Entrepreneur and Consultant
Frequently Asked Questions
Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are annual incentive competitions held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and organized by geography and theme. These challenges act as a platform to identify outstanding entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, and engineers with the most innovative ideas for moonshot innovations and startups that can positively impact a billion people in 10 years. The winner of each challenge receives a full sponsorship to attend our transformational Global Solutions Program.
No, there’s no such obligation from either SU or the GIC Sponsor. The GIC winner can elect to recruit fellow GSP classmates to work on his or her winning project or create an entirely new project during the summer.
In all cases where a GIC winner cannot attend GSP, the winner forfeits his or her GSP seat to the first runner-up and would then need to reapply for admission in a future year.
For more information, see the Global Solutions Program.