August 3, 2021

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Meet Alex Amouyel, Executive Director, MIT Solve

As the founding Executive Director of Solve, Alex Amouyel has built and oversees a fast-growing team whose mission is to drive innovation to solve global challenges. Learn more about her and her inspiring work in our newest feature.

For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about your background.

I have spent over a decade working in the social impact space, first for one of the largest children’s nonprofits, Save the Children; second for the Clinton Foundation; and now leading Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I am French and British, grew up in Paris, and have been lucky enough to work all over the world. As the founding Executive Director of Solve, I have built and now oversee a fast-growing team of nearly thirty full-time employees, whose mission is to drive innovation to solve global challenges. We find, fund, and support social innovators all around the world. To date, we have brokered funding commitments of over $40 million to our Solver teams and entrepreneurs worldwide. I started my career in strategy consultancy at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in London, and have a double Master’s in International Affairs from Sciences Po, Paris, and the London School of Economics, as well as a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry from Trinity College, Cambridge, UK.

What are you most looking forward to about reviewing Anthem Awards entries?

As anyone on my staff at MIT Solve will tell you (because reviewing Challenge applications is a big part of our work as a marketplace for social impact innovation), the work is not just about evaluating pitches and determining who gets selected; it’s also about being inspired by the crucial impact people are making on the world. I’m excited to see the breadth of innovation happening in corners across the globe and the diversity of solutions across technology, geography, and types of solutions.

What does it take for a project or campaign to cause real-world change?

When we think about solutions at MIT Solve, the first thing to reflect on is what is the problem you are trying to solve, and whether that problem affects millions and billions of the most underserved communities. Then and only then do we think about whether the solution has potential to have a positive impact and actually solve the problem, and whether it’s feasible, scalable, innovative and designed with and for underserved communities and by a team that demonstrates real proximity to the communities they seek to serve.

How does your work at MIT Solve support your mission?

MIT Solve’s mission is to drive innovation solve world challenges. As a marketplace for social impact innovation, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world through our open innovation Challenges. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. Notably, at Solve Challenge Finals on September 17, the most promising 40 Solver teams will be selected to form the 2021 Solver Class, accessing over $2 million in funding and joining the Solve community to build partnerships with Solve Members such as HP, General Motors, The Nature Conservancy, and Capital One.

Bonus: What’s your favorite purpose-driven project or mission-driven campaign right now, and why?

Right now, I’m excited about our recent launch of Solv[ED], Solve’s newly designed program to inspire and support young people 24 and under to become problem-solvers in their community and the world. In my role, I’m constantly amazed by the genius and power of young people—our youngest Solver, Emma Yang of Timeless, was only 13 years old when she was selected. GenZ is especially driven to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all. We are launching a Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge during Solve Challenge Finals—anyone 24 and under will be encouraged to apply if they have a relevant solution!