Applications are open for the QBE and Ashoka Urban Resilience Challenge!

Are you a for-profit venture leveraging technology to increase urban resilience in one of the following categories: The Built Environment (Infrastructure), Sustainable Economies, Food/Water/Waste, or Public Health and Safety?  Apply today! Ten finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to NYC to pitch your venture to thought leaders, funders, and QBE business experts.  All finalists will be eligible for mentorship from QBE business experts, and two will receive cash prizes of $75,000 and $25,000.  

How do I apply? 

Click below on the “Participate” button to apply to the QBE and Ashoka Urban Resilience Challenge.   After making your submission,  you may revise your entry, and re-submit it until the final deadline of Tuesday,  May 7th, 2019  by  11:59 PM EST.  

Early Entry Deadline and Prize: 

Submit your application by Monday, April 15th, and you will qualify to win two virtual coaching sessions provided by QBE business experts, and feedback on your application from an Ashoka staff member.  Note, winning the early entry prize, does not guarantee that the submission will qualify as a finalist.   

Am I eligible to apply?  

Before you start your entry, please ensure that you fulfill each of the following eligibility criteria. 

  • The founding team of your organization must consist of two or more individuals
  • If your product has not launched, you must have a business plan and MVP (prototype, scientific validation of your idea, or another proof of concept)
  • Your company must be privately owned and not a subsidiary of another company 
  • You must have a clear articulation of how your company’s product fosters social impact in your industry and in society at large 
  • Your product must be based on a new technology or an innovative application of existing technology
  • You must not be an employee of QBE or an immediate family member of a QBE employee
  • Your organization must not be a QBE Ventures portfolio company 
  • Your organization must have a U.S. office and be creating an impact in the United States
  • You must be 18 years or older 


Selection Criteria

Changemaker Challenges are online competitions that activate innovators around a field or topic and that incentivize leading innovators with a financial prize while mobilizing a large group of sector thought-leaders and experts, including Ashoka Fellows.

Challenge entries will be evaluated on the following criteria :


Leading entries demonstrate how they are making a positive social or environmental impact under one of the following themes: The Built Environment, Sustainable Economies, Food/Water/Waste, Public Health & Safety. Competitive applicants will be able to provide qualitative and quantitative metrics used to track progress. Initiatives should also describe the innovation’s potential impact on the future.

Financial and Operational Sustainability

Competitive applicants will be able to demonstrate the ability of their product or prototype to garner resources such as market performance (sales), funding, financing, team members, or partners. They should also be able to highlight the expertise, diversity, and commitment of the organization’s leadership team.


Leading entries have an original, ground-breaking tech innovation- which could be a new tech invention (machine, equipment, etc.)- or an innovative adaptation/upgrade of existing technology (i.e. a new app, or a new iteration of a solar panel for example). We are particularly interested in models that use fresh approaches and should be differentiated from other similar products in the market.



This challenge is now over.
95 ideas
95 final ideas
90 final ideas
25 final ideas
10 final ideas


Join the conversation:

Photo of Robert Schmidt

I am looking for information about QBE or Ashoka equity in a winning startup.

Photo of Roberto

Hey Robert! On April 9th at 1:30 PM EDT, we will host an informational webinar about the challenge and how to write a great application. If you are interested in participating, shoot me an email at to let me know you will join us. You can learn more about the challenge there.

View all comments