3D4D Challenge

The 3D4D challenge, managed by Tech4all’s operating subsidiary TechforTrade; was the first charity 3D printing challenge – to promote and celebrate innovation in aid of developing countries by using 3D printing technology to help combat poverty and/or increase self-sufficiency in such places.

What kind of innovation can you imagine to solve a problem in the Developing World?

About the Project

London, UK-based charity TechforTrade set a challenge to the world: How can you use 3D printing to help the Developing World? The prize: $100,000 dollars. It was called the 3D4D challenge. Candidates entered the competition from across the globe, including entries from North and South America, Europe, Asia, and East and West Africa.

The Brief

Create a winning idea for a technical innovation that addresses a significant social need (for example, access to clean water) and is an income-positive model or innovation for aiding people in developing countries. 


After a tough round of judging, 7 finalists were shortlisted for the global 3D4D Challenge.

All of the finalists were awarded $1000 each as well as access to expert mentors, in order to progress their individual projects for the final competition, which was held at the 3D Print Show on Oct 2012.


Press coverage

7 Finalists compete for $100,000 in 3D Printing’s First Charity Challenge
3D Printing Industry
Oct 5th, 2012
The 3D4D Challenge
May 2, 2012
Tech for Trade logo

About TechforTrade

TechforTrade’s CEO William Hoyle from 2011 to 2022 worked to alleviate poverty through the marriage of technology and entrepreneurship.

TechforTrade is the largest project funded by Tech4All to date – its mission is to improve the incomes and livelihoods of small producers in some of the poorest world economies, by increasing opportunities to trade and to reduce the cost of production. Its approach is to act as a catalyst for technology enabled trading, supporting national and international market access for small producers. 

Based in London but with impact in communities around the globe techfortrade delivered a number of projects including using 3D printing, microfinance as well as mobile payments and information.
TechforTrade focused on bridging the divide between emerging technologies and international trade and economic development.