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UNICEF Funding Opportunity for Blockchain Startups

If you have a start-up registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries and have a working, open-source blockchain prototype (or you are willing to make it open-source) showing promising results, UNICEF is looking for you.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make up to $100K equity-free investments (in USD and/or cryptocurrency) to provide early stage (seed) financing and mentoring to for-profit technology startups that have the potential to benefit humanity. Applicants have the opportunity to receive a portion of funding in cryptocurrency (bitcoin or ether) through our recently launched CryptoFund. Given the current global climate and a dramatic shift to a digital world as a result of COVID-19, open-source solutions that address critical needs for society are as important as ever.

Looking for fully-funded opportunities, install the Youth Opportunities Android or iOS App here.

Examples of areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Finance
    Financing enables individual people to participate in and contribute to various ecosystems.

    • They are seeking solutions that :
      • Enable people to use, earn, and hold cryptocurrencies
      • Allow people to access decentralised financial instruments
      • Explore new models to empower communities to act as their own economic hubs
      • Make financial systems more transparent
  • Connect
    Around the world, groups work together to deliver services. Increased transparency and accountability in these processes lead to better results.

    • Seeking solutions that:
      • Allow various group to work together in a transparent and accountable nature (i.e. supply-chain, contract management, data tracking, etc.)
      • Enable decentralized deal-making, for example through decentralised marketplaces
  • Empower
    UNICEF supports the creation of open-source software to ultimately enable communities with new tools.

    • Interested in solutions that empower local communities to engage with systems in new ways, such as those that:
      • Explore new ways of making decisions (i.e. using a decentralized method such as DAOS to determine what projects should receive funding)
      • Protect user data collected through solutions through zero-knowledge proofs or other mechanisms.
  • And +
    Their funding is not necessarily limited to the above. They are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable.

If you are aligned with their general criteria, UNICEF wants to hear from you.


  • Seed funding

The Fund provides up to $100,000 in equity-free seed funding, in USD. The investment is intended for prototype testing and validation, and to get it to a stage where the company has proof that the solution works.

  • Crypto funding

Selected startups also have the opportunity to receive part of their funding in cryptocurrency. The UNICEF CryptoFund disburses funds in both bitcoin and ether.

  • Business Growth

The Fund taps into a network of mentors who help startup teams develop their business model and strategy to grow their company and ultimately profit.

  • Networks and platforms

UNICEF Ventures has a blockchain and computer science team with access to corporate partnerships and use cases that selected blockchain start-ups can benefit from.

  • Product and Technology Development

Investee’s receive technical assistance from the UNICEF Ventures team and dedicated expert mentors to help validate and improve their solutions.

  • Maximize impact

As the world’s leading organisation for children, UNICEF has a network of experts and partners across its Country Offices who can provide localized advice and partnerships needed to reach more users.


  • You must be registered as a private company in a UNICEF programme country;
  • You are working on open source technology solutions or willing to be open-source under the following licenses or their equivalent: BSD, GNU, MIT (software), CERN, MIT, TAPR (hardware), or CC-BY (content);
  • You have an existing prototype of the solution with promising results from initial pilots;
  • Your solution has the potential to positively impact the lives of children.
Eligible Regions: Unicef programme countries
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