Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge 2021 for Middle East, Turkey & Africa (Up to $150,000)

Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge 2021 for Middle East, Turkey & Africa (Up to $150,000)

Deadline: April 12, 2021

Applications are open for the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge 2021. 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, they hope to share knowledge generated from the projects with the wider industry.

The Middle East, Turkey and Africa GNI Innovation Challenge gives everyone an opportunity to inject new ideas and innovation in the news ecosystem. Following this turbulent period for the news ecosystem with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are turning their attention to new opportunities for news providers who play such an important role in tackling misinformation and building trust with readers. That’s why they are focusing on creative projects that demonstrate opportunities to increase reader engagement and support the development of new business models.


  • Google will fund up to $150,000 for selected projects. Special discretion on the total project cap may be considered by The Jury depending on the scale and impact of a very large collaborative effort. Google will finance up to 70% of the overall costs of the selected projects. The remaining self-funded costs can be operational costs.


  • 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.
  • They should be based in Middle East, Turkey & Africa.

Evaluation Criteria

Projects will be evaluated against five 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.
  • Diversity: Preferred projects will be able to demonstrate their self-defined commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion whether that is within their audience, organisation or content. Google is committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and works to support companies/projects which are inline with such values.


The application window closes on Monday, April 12 at 23:59 GMT. Only online applications in English will be considered. Applicants are asked to provide descriptions, detailed project plans and budget information via the online application form. They are also required to accept the Middle East, Turkey & Africa GNI Innovation Challenge Application Terms and Conditions.

Click here to apply

For more information, visit GNI Challenge.