The newly-established Innovation Fund, a part of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), calls upon youth-oriented technology startups to apply for grants.

The Fund, which has already raised $9 mln both from governments and private sector, was established to invest in open source technology startups which have the potential “to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

That includes the development of products which could help youth under 25 with their learning and decision-making and are potentially able to increase their access to services and information.

“These three areas are ripe for investment due to rapidly changing technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, wearables and sensors, artificial intelligence and renewable energy,” UNICEF Innovation Co-Lead Christopher Fabian said, adding that even if most of the startups supported by the Fund fail, some of them are likely to succeed and make a real change.

The projects submitted should match two criteria: being open source and having a working prototype. It is expected that in the end the number of projects funded will reach 60.

UNICEF has already invested in technology startups, including RapidSMS, RapidPro and U-Report, which, according to UNICEF assessments, proved to be quite a success.

Maria Rudina