Over 200 Indian startups compete to develop assistive tech for differently abled

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on November 27, 2020 Published on November 27, 2020

Prosus and Invest India launch ‘Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility’ event

Over 200 startups have applied for the inaugural Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility where start-ups with the most innovative solutions in the assistive technology space will compete for an annual grant. Prosus, the global consumer internet group of Naspers, in collaboration with Invest India, Startup India and Social Alpha, have launched this initiative. Prosus has committed Rs 1.65 crore over three years to this initiative

Shortlisted startups are being evaluated by a jury comprising venture capitalists and startup founders, technical experts and clinicians, disability NGOs and policy experts, all of whom are well placed to work together to find the most promising startups in assistive technology.

The jury includes Arman Ali, Disability rights activist and Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, Patanjali Nayar, Regional Adviser for Disability, Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, WHO; K. G. Satheesh, Director, Center for Assistive Technology and Innovation, National Institute of Speech and Hearing; Meenu Bhambhani, VP and Head of Corporate Citizenship, Inclusion and Diversity, State Street; Vidit Aatrey, Founder and CEO, Meesho; Raghu Gullapali, Executive Director, Global Operations, Innovation & Partnership, LV Prasad Eye Institute among others.

Shortlisted contestants will be whittled down to eleven finalists, who will be invited to present to an expert panel, after which the top three startups will be unveiled onDecember 2. The top startup will receive Rs 25 lakh, and the first and second runners-up will receive Rs 18 lakh and Rs 12 lakh respectively.

All three startups will also be inducted into a new Prosus SICA mentorship programme, where they would receive business advice from Prosus, technical advisory and support from WHO, and an opportunity to incubate with Social Alpha, an organisation focused on strengthening impact innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.

Sehraj Singh, Director, Public Policy and Corporate Affairs, Prosus, said: “The interest and ideas we’ve seen over past months confirm our belief in the pioneering thinking of Indian entrepreneurs in applying technology in a smart and scalable way to help persons with disabilities. We are grateful to have on board an impressive and diverse jury and delighted that WHO has agreed to collaborate with Prosus SICA and support the successful startups with technical advice along the way.”


A start-up challenge to develop assistive tech for the differently abled - The Hindu BusinessLine

Funding issues. According to Singh, there has been a renewed focus on sectors that provide societal benefits in the Indian start-up ecosystem over the past decade.

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Published on November 27, 2020
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