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Who Should Apply?

You should have enormous ambition, and can imagine yourself as a successful entrepreneur. You are ready to launch your new venture, and - if a pilot proves successful – you are excited to grow it into a world changing organization.

If you are still a student or have existing commitments, you should have a clear idea how to transition into a full-time founder.

D-Prize is exclusively interested in ventures that will scale distribution of an already proven poverty intervention in the developing world. We do not fund prototypes of promising new interventions.


D-Prize challenges are open to anyone or any teams. The sole restriction is that individuals and their immediate family on the judging panel may not participate as a contestant.

D-Prize is also open to any business model (for profit, non-profit, and everything in between). All winners will be awarded up to $20,000. The award is offered in the form of a convertible grant.

Up to 25 of the most promising proposals will be selected for funding awards, regardless of which challenge track was selected.

Submission Policies

      Proposals must be submitted following the instructions in this packet.

      Extra material outside of the proposal will not be considered.

      Revisions to proposals after submission will also not be considered.

      Only one proposal per person or partnership will be considered.

      Proposals must be written in English.

Round 1

First Round proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis, using the following deadlines. We strive to send decisions out within three weeks. Judges may request additional information via email before making a decision.

      Early decision deadline: November 19, 2017 at midnight PT (Pacific Time). Early decision proposals are more likely to advance to the next round, and will have additional time on for the full proposal.

      Regular deadline: December 10, 2017 at midnight PT.

      Extension deadline: December 31, 2017 at midnight PT. Extensions are limited to the first 200 people who register at:

Round 2

Top entrepreneurs invited to participate in Round 2 will be asked to draft and submit a full plan of their venture, roughly 10 pages in length plus any desired appendices. The plan will include more details on operations, a budget, milestones, and other items. Participants will receive a Round 2 Proposal Packet with full instructions.

Those invited to the Second Round will have about four weeks to submit a plan.

Final Round

Entrepreneurs invited to the Final Round will interview with judges over email and on the phone. Depending on the promise and cost-effectiveness of a proposal, judges may award up to $20,000 in funding. The average D-Prize award size is $12,000.

Piloting Winning Ventures

Besides direct funding, D-Prize can assist in helping your venture attract future funding if the pilot proves successful. We will also provide you access to the D-Prize network of past winners, and will do our best to support you in other ways.

Judging Process

All proposals will receive an initial read from at least two judges, and if advanced will receive up to two additional independent readings.

We strive to send decisions within three weeks of your submission. Judges may request additional information via email before deciding.

Judging Criteria

The D-Prize judging panel is composed of individuals with professional experience distributing life-changing technologies in the developing world.

Contestants are evaluated based on:

      Passion and potential for candidate’s success, as evident by their academic and professional background, relevant skills, and quick leadership trajectory.

      Focus on distribution. Proposals must focus on distributing a proven poverty solution that needs greater access in the developing world.

      Potential for scale, based on the organizational model proposed in the concept note and the entrepreneur’s desire to commit and grow.

Proposal Tips

      Be succinct. Successful proposals are objective and to the point. Orient your proposal towards an educated judge who is relatively knowledgeable with the key issues.

      Scale, impact, cost-effectiveness. Successful entrepreneurs will build a plausible case that their intervention is highly scalable, cost-effective, and will lead to enormous impact.

      Keep within scope. The most successful startups have a narrow focus and avoid spending resources on too many areas. A tightly scoped idea will perform best in this competition.

Concept Note

Please prepare a concept note which responds to the following prompts. Concept notes are limited to three pages.

      Introduction: please begin your concept note with a short 1-3 sentence summarizing your idea.

      Problem: what are the most critical issues preventing better distribution of your selected intervention in your pilot region? Be specific.

      Concept: what is your solution? How will your new pilot venture implement your solution?
We want to understand what you will do, and how you will do it in detail.

      Goals: during your pilot, how many poverty interventions will you distribute during your pilot, at 6 months, and at 1 year? How many people will you help during your pilot, at 6 months, and at 1 year? (This can be a simple table).

      Future Growth: explain your vision for scale. How do your operations grow through your first year? What additional staff will you require, and how have you funded your growing operations?

      Team: list all the people on your team, their responsibilities, their location during the pilot, and the average hours per week they will commit to this venture. If not local to your operating region, please note any developing country experience.

Resumes / CVs

Please include a resume for each person on your team, limited to one page per person. Resumes should highlight the most relevant past leadership roles and accomplishments.

Additional Information

Custom Challenge: are you submitting to a Custom Challenge category? If so:

      When submitting, we will ask you to provide a URL link us to one website with credible evidence that supports your intervention.
      We also recommend you include 1 additional page elaborating on your intervention, and citing evidence that it is proven and in need of greater distribution.

Existing organizations: has your organization already launched? If so, we will ask you to include a summary of your activities since launching, and your current budget / income statement in the submission webform.

Proposal Instructions

      Prepare your concept note and resume, and clearly name your files. Files must be PDF and are limited to a size of 4MB each.

      Input your contact details and upload your documents to


Email the D-Prize team at

As an aside, I got the camera today. Not the Panasonic Lumix I hoped for, as none of the stores I went had it, but Canon Powershot ELPH 190 IS. It's got rave ratings/reviews on Amazon, I have never seen any product praised that much. And so far I am very happy with the camera and its pictures. I have take over 90 pictures with it today. It focuses very fast and has image stabilization. Pictures taken while in a speeding bus came out very clear and cool. You can't try that with a phone camera. And the picture quality is superb; Canon stuffed it with a very high technology that makes the auto mode of the camera amazingly good under pretty much all conditions. And it's very small. Tiny.


Maryland Mall, snapped from inside a speeding bus
Back to today's post.

We all know how we loudly proclaim "I can't kill myself" when we are under immense pressure. And always in the end we overcome the pressure and get some of the results we were seeking.

Well, today, I want you to start using it to your advantage. Don't wait for other people or work to pressure you. You should start taking on big goals and many of them so that you'll get to say "I can't come and go and die" more often. 

This is the approach I use in my personal and career development. I take up more tasks and goals than I logically can handle. I know I can't die from them and in the end I always get results that I wouldn't have gotten had I not even made an attempt. Most importantly, they help me to become better at time management and setting my priorities right.

If you often get home in the evening/night feeling very bad and annoyed because of how someone treated you at a random place -- mall, restaurant, bus-stop, while driving or at the bank. Then you need to fill your life with more big goals and tasks. If you have enough deadlines chasing you and a couple have already overtaken you, you'll miraculously quickly get over what any random person does to you (maybe even immediately give them back the heat, hotter, and move on completely). But when you don't have too much new and uncomfortable things to do each day, you'll start importing home complaints of how someone looked at you in a funny way and how the cashier ignored you and how the KFC girl was extremely rude (and oh yes they can be, especially the Ikeja Computer Village KFC ones).

However, once you load your day with many big tasks and manage get a couple of terrifying deadlines chasing you, in six months your life will never be the same. You will first almost die from the immense pressure and want to turn off some of the goals, but if you keep them on, after sometime you'll just find that you become better at managing the pressure and are seeing some nice positive results of some goals getting achieved.

Everyday, I get no less than five deadlines furiously chasing me. Then I always have two or three already overtaken me (tasks past their deadlines). I don't achieve everything I plan/hope to achieve but I always achieve more than when I had an easier to manage/visualize todo list.

There are just about 14 days left in this month but I have two training classes in Lagos, one training class in Abuja, one training class in Asaba, a volunteer job in Porto-Novo, my online MBA midterm exam and other things that don't give enough prior notice. Still I have a habit of reading, writing daily, working on some long-term projects, finishing the 2017 Data Industry Analysis whitepaper and have rest days. And that's how most of the other months this year have been activity-wise. I don't try to think through them as it results in analysis paralysis and low morale. I just take it one day or two days at a time. Do what I can do. I let the pressure energize me and the deadlines keep me going longer than I would ordinarily have. I still don't achieve all but way more than I would if I had played safe.

Some people find it amazing that I do so much and constantly trying to do more. Well, this is one of my main secrets. Aim for the moon, if you miss you'll still end up where you ordinarily wouldn't have gotten to. Activity-based pressure can't kill you, it is worrying and negative stress that can harm you. So go after all the goals you never thought you had time for and watch as the time will create itself and you'll achieve more.

In 2015 I tried a lot of things and one of them was sales of iTunes gift cards. I was overwhelmed by how much market there is for iTunes gift cards in Nigeria. I even got a call from the popular TY Bello for $500 iTunes card (actually her assistant making the purchase for her). At a point, I was getting weekly requests. Then the whole dollar issue arose and getting the cards became very difficult and too expensive. So I stopped. Then some people were owing me money and a few actual made off with the cards without paying. 

I constantly get whatsapp messages and SMS on top of the regular calls. Yesterday, I still got a call from a lady and even after telling her that I've stopped selling iTunes gift cards she kept pressing that I help her find out where to get. 

Again, from my many random exploits I have hit a gold mine. Something with a good market potential. I have known this for over a year now and began building an iTunes gift card sales site ( 

Last week, I decided that I should not tie my online products creation to my sluggish web development progress. So I contacted four different web app development agencies (three in India and one in Nigeria). They've gotten back to me and I think I have found the one with the very expertise I desire.

I want the web app to be built with ASP.Net MVC since that is the technology stack I am learning. I also want the app deployed on our existing Azure cloud services. So we will own everything about it -- the platform, hosting and codes. And better, I will be able to study the codes and edit/update as appropriate as business needs change since I am knowledgeable on ASP.Net MVC. I am hoping to get it built this year. So we launch and start working towards turning good profit from it.

Wish me luck!
"In this time and age, why would you buy a small camera?"

The reason is majorly personal. I am not the selfie type. And for no clear reasons I don't take photos with my phones. If you go through my phones, you won't find much photos on them. Even my iPhone that has a good quality camera.

However, I have used a Samsung point and shoot camera before, in 2011, and I know how frequently I took photos with it. Those photos are still with me and are some of my best memories. I snapped almost everything that interested me with it.

Then I got a DSLR camera (professional camera). It gave better quality photos but has the huge disadvantage of big size and drawing attention. Still, I took more photos with it than I have done with any phone.

Now, I am learning from my experience and doing that which I know will work. There are many sights and scenes I would like to have a photograph of -- from our training classes to my travelings and surprise moments.

I have decided to buy a very good and high quality point and shoot camera. So I searched online for the reviews and recommendations. One particular one kept coming up as top of the list (recommended) across most sites -- Panasonic Lumix DMC LX10.

I have shopped around in Port Harcourt and couldn't find it. Again, why Port Harcourt? I have this strange fever -- when I want something I kinda want it now. But today I'll be back in Lagos and should be able to find the Panasonic one or another on the list I got online.

Maybe I'll share some of the interesting pictures I'll take with the camera. 😀