Prosus SICA second edition in finding assistive tech reaches final stage

| | Updated on: Nov 26, 2021
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The startup that takes the first spot will receive ₹25 lakh as prize money

The second edition of Prosus the global consumer internet group of Naspers' on Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (Prosus SICA 2021), launched in partnership with Invest India, Social Alpha and the World Health Organisation has reached the final stage, with ten shortlisted startups competing in the final round of the Prosus SICA initiative this week.

Created last year, Prosus SICA invites Indian start-ups with the most promising solutions in the assistive technology space to compete for an annual grant and access to the Prosus SICA mentorship programme.

This year’s jury, comprised of technical experts and clinicians, disability NGOs, policy experts and investors reviewed over 170 applications from startups across India in order to identify the final ten.

"The startups were evaluated on criteria of product readiness, market need, financial sustainability, business scalability, and future roadmap," as per an official release.

The jury also paid special attention to user-friendliness of the products outside of controlled therapy and rehabilitation sessions.

Geriatric AT and Robotics

Apart from applications from startups concentrating on areas like mobility, access and medical screening, the jury observed the emergence of Geriatric AT and Robotics as upcoming key trends in India’s AT ecosystem with significant representation in SICA 2021.

Following the final round, the jury will now select the top three startups. The startup that takes the first spot will receive ₹25,00,000, and the first and second runners-up will receive grants of ₹18 lakh and ₹12 lakh respectively.

"The grants are intended to help the startups to scale and expand their businesses so more persons with disabilities can benefit and to help develop the AT ecosystem," it said.

The top five startups will be announced on December 2, 2021 on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

These startups will also be inducted into the Prosus SICA mentorship programme to facilitate their access to global strategic advisors from Prosus, technical advisors from WHO, AT sector experts from Social Alpha, and knowledge and partnerships specialists from Startup India, Invest India. Additionally, eligible startups may get follow-on funding and an opportunity to incubate with Social Alpha.

Sehraj Singh, India Managing Director, Prosus, said, “We are pleased to support innovation in India’s AT ecosystem with the SICA programme and to help create societal impact by improving lives and empowering persons with disabilities."

"AT is not only for the differently abled, but also for all of us as we age – it has been heartening to see the diversity of the use-cases demonstrated at the final jury round of SICA 2021," added Singh.

Pulkit Aggarwal from Social Alpha, said, “Social Alpha has a rich history of engaging with social impact initiatives across all ends of the spectrum – founders, investors and industry. It is just the second year of SICA but we are surprised and excited to see solutions and business ideas that are completely new and unprecedented. Indian AT sector is clearly at an inflection point and we are encouraged to see that SICA is attracting diverse talent from across the country.”

Prosus SICA, in partnership with Invest India, Social Alpha and the World Health Organization, was first launched in 2020. Prosus has committed ₹1.65 crore over three years to this initiative.

Published on November 26, 2021

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