D-Prize is a nonprofit organization that funds early start-ups aimed at alleviating poverty. Acara collaborates with D-Prize on two funding opportunities.

For the Acara Challenge, Acara and D-Prize have partnered to offer winning teams additional support. D-Prize offers a matching grant to those won through the Acara Fellowship that highlight one of its 12 D-Prize categories (see below).

In addition to getting joint support from Acara and D-Prize, individuals and teams can apply directly to the D-Prize competition. Applications for D-Prize alone typically open in December.

D-Prize Categories

Sugar Daddy Awareness Challenge

Some 14 million unintended teen pregnancies occur annually in sub-Saharan Africa, and many girls are at risk of contracting HIV. A one-hour “sugar daddy awareness” class reduces these risks 28 percent. Can you teach “sugar daddy awareness” classes to girls in need?

Download the full challenge

Scholarship Challenge

Fewer than 50 percent of girls in developing countries finish high school because they cannot afford fees. A $250 scholarship can quickly change a young girl’s life. Can you create a fund-raising website and raise money from developed-world donors?

Download the full challenge

Solar Lamp Challenge

Some 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa use kerosene lanterns to light their homes. Solar lamps are cheaper and cleaner, cost less, and increase household incomes by 30 percent. Can you sell solar lights to rural or slum-dwelling households in need?

Download the full challenge

Cookstove Challenge

Some 3 billion people cook on traditional stoves, which cause chronic smoke exposure and are the cause of 4 percent percent of the global disease burden. A $13 modern stove provides cost savings and health benefits. Can you sell cookstoves and maintain long-term adoption rates?

Download the full challenge

Flipped Classroom Challenge

By 2030 Africa will need to fill an impossible 4.1 million teaching positions. “Flipped classrooms” and deskilled curriculum can be run by a facilitator and reduce the need for expert teachers. Can you implement an effective curriculum to teach students in a resource-limited classroom?

Download the full challenge

Testing Challenge

In sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of children remain illiterate even after five years of school. Testing and public scorecards increase accountability in poor education systems. Can you launch an organization that tests student and school performance, and makes the information publicly available?

Download the full challenge

Transparency Challenge

Public services in developing countries are rife with corruption. Public reporting and scorecards creates real accountability. Can you improve transparency and report data on the public service performance?

Download the full challenge

Road Monitoring Challenge

World Bank infrastructure projects see a high social return on investment, yet only 19 percent of roads in sub-Saharan Africa are paved. New road projects often cut corners and may not even be finished. Can you create a simple road-construction mapping and monitoring system?

Download the full challenge

Vaccine Challenge

For $20, a child can be vaccinated against a range of infectious disease for life. Yet millions of vaccines are wasted. Can you create a simple management system that tracks vaccine supplies?

Download the full challenge

Corrective Surgery Challenge

Obstetric fistula, cervical cancer, club foot and cataracts all have effective treatments. Yet identifying patients among large populations is difficult. Can you create a way to identify patients and connect them to early treatment solutions?

Download the full challenge

Maternal Health Challenge

Misoprostol is a $3 drug that could prevent 100,000 maternal deaths from postpartum hemorrhaging. Can you develop an organization to train birth attendants to administer misoprostol?

Download the full challenge

Not excited about one of the above challenge areas? Students are welcome to create identify a different challenge area for the competition.

Download the full challenge

How to: Bringing your project to D-Prize

Found your fit and ready to compete for D-Prize? Start here!

  • Consider Your Path: Consider competing in the Acara Challenge to automatically be reviewed for joint funding from both organizations. Alternatively, you may choose to decide to apply directly to D-Prize, for which the following information is pertinent!
  • Pick Your Project: We have already identified several proven poverty solutions that are in need of greater distribution. These challenges will give you a framework for designing your new venture.  Combine your interests with your knowledge and skills to find the perfect fit for you!
  • Design Your Venture: Review judging and competition criteria for information on the requirements for a successful venture.  Utilize your contacts or make new ones, and see how you can work to solve a your challenge!
  • Submit Your Pitch: Concept notes are accepted in December. Apply directly here. Judges will invite the most promising entrepreneurs to submit a full 10-page proposal by March. Finalists will interview with several judges.
  • Start Your Launch!  Successful competitors will receive funding from D-Prize for use on their program launch. For the next three months you will dedicate all your talent to start an organization that will solve a major societal dilemma and build the framework for a sustainable solution.

D-Prize Competitor Details


  • D-Prize is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs, at any age, with any background.  
  • Strong applicants will be highly skilled in the area they wish to work in and committed to turning their project into a long-term career.


  • D-Prize selects 5-15 teams to support each year.  
  • Teams are awarded up to $20,000 in funding to start their ventures.


  • Applications are accepted in December.  
  • Finalists complete 10-page proposals by March, and judges interview teams following that.

Review the full D-Prize 2017 Guidelines and Rules for further information on the competition.