Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge 2019 for Middle East, Africa and Turkey (Up to USD $150,000)

Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge 2019 for Middle East, Africa and Turkey (Up to USD $150,000)

Deadline: September 2, 2019

Applications are open for the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge 2019 for Middle East, Africa and Turkey. The Google News Initiative (GNI) is Google’s global effort to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

Through rounds of regional funding, the GNI Innovation Challenges will empower news innovators from around the world to demonstrate new thinking in online journalism and the development of new publishing business models. In turn, Google hopes to share knowledge generated from the projects with the wider industry.

The first Middle East, Africa and Turkey GNI Innovation Challenge will give everyone an opportunity to inject new ideas and innovation in the news ecosystem. They will focus on creative projects that demonstrate opportunities to increase reader engagement and support the development of new business models.


  • Google will fund selected projects up to USD $150,000 and will finance up to 70% of the total project cost.


  • Open to organizations of every size, including freelancers and sole traders, that aim to produce innovative, original journalism and to enlighten citizens with trustworthy journalistic content, whose projects focus on encouraging a more sustainable news ecosystem;
  • Established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations are all eligible to apply. Incorporated organizations must be incorporated in one of the eligible countries in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey region. Unincorporated organizations must be registered in the region (or, if unregistered, have their principal place of business there).

Eligible Projects

All ideas are welcome but they are requiring all projects to have clear indicators showing the impact of the project from a user perspective and/or from a business perspective (eg: audience indicators, business plan when relevant). Successful projects will also need to be delivered within one year.

They encourage innovative projects – focused on but not limited to- the areas below:

  • Business Models
  • Distribution
  • Interface
  • Social
  • Workflow

Projects can be experimental but must be measurable with well-defined goals. They encourage you to clearly underline the opportunities of the project by providing clear key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs should have a significant digital component.

Evaluation Criteria

Projects will be evaluated against four main criteria:

  • Impact on the news ecosystem: Projects should demonstrate potential for significant positive impact on the creation of new revenue streams and/or change the way people consume digital news.
  • Innovation: Preferred projects will be innovative (use of technology, business model, new reader engagement approaches etc) and be transformative for the applicant and for users.
  • Feasibility: Projects should demonstrate clear indicators and metrics, or even a business plan when relevant, and set out key risks and mitigation steps.
  • Inspiration: How can the project help news organizations learn from each other? Willingness to share knowledge, open source code or/and to contribute to the improvement of the ecosystem overall.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit Google News Initiative.