Revolutionise the assistive tech space by participating in Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility 2022

Prosus is back with its Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility. Startups in the assistive tech space can receive funding, guidance, and exposure.
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The World Report on Disability estimated that, based on population data from 2010, more than one billion adults and children worldwide — 15 percent of the global population — were living with some form of disability. Only 1 in 10 people in need have access to assistive technology due to high costs and a lack of awareness, availability, trained personnel, policy, and financing. Addressing this unmet need in terms of access to assistive products is crucial to achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The market for assistive tech is massive. But high costs, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of formal policies that mandate accommodations remain persistent obstacles to access. One of the largest technology investors in the world, Prosus is back with the Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (SICA). A one-of-a-kind, impactful contest to encourage entrepreneurship in assistive technologies, SICA offers opportunities, funding, and exposure to startups in the space.

It is a matter of great pride for us to see SICA grow in less than three years from merely a vision, to a thriving assistive technology initiative. We are delighted that our partner Invest India is showcasing SICA to the world as an example of the social impact that private investors and public bodies can generate when they collaborate effectively,shares Sehraj Singh, Managing Director, Prosus India.

We remain as excited today as when we launched SICA, about finding and fostering the most innovative assistive tech startups in India. Our experience in India has also encouraged us to assess the potential for SICA to become a longer-term initiative to support the development of the assistive technology sector in India and beyond,he adds.

Why participate in SICA?

Startups with the most innovative assistive technology solutions can compete for unconditional grants of up to Rs 55 lakh with the top three getting Rs 25 lakh, 18 lakh, and 12 lakh respectively. Additionally, the top five startups get access to a bespoke, global mentorship program. Eligible startups can receive potential follow-on funding from Social Alpha and an opportunity to access their open innovation platform. They can also look forward to:

  • Unconditional funding to develop ideas from minimal viable product stage to a marketable product
  • Access to a larger network of assistive tech companies and ecosystem
  • Interacting with industry leaders and mentors who can guide in scaling products to build a sustainable business

The startups are selected by an expert jury which evaluates a range of attributes, such as the underlying issue being addressed by each startup, product scalability, market feasibility, outcomes of clinical trials, and accessibility for the ultimate beneficiaries.

Social Alpha is proud to host Prosus SICA and structure it to suitably support the entrepreneurs, who are tackling the societal challenges of barriers to inclusion and accessibility,shares Dr Kshama Kothari, Director, Health at Social Alpha.

Assistive tech solutions unlock value for persons with disabilities, as well as the elderly and some categories of medical care seekers — a growing market with an appetite for user-appropriate high-quality solutions. Over the past two years, we have evaluated over 350 innovations and SICA has catalysed a market-shaping momentum in India, she adds.

Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO, Invest India highlights how India is now the world’s third largest ecosystem and home to more than 75,000 startups. Over $131 billion was invested in Indian startups in the last eight years. It is important to ensure that the benefits of India’s startup boom accrue to everyone. Prosus SICA is a case in point that if investing is aligned with sustainable development goals, meaningful positive social impact can be brought about at scale, he adds.

Some of the early-stage Indian ventures developing assistive tech like Sohum Innovation Labs, NeoMotion Assistive Solutions, and Stamurai from Demosthenes Technologies received grants and expert product and business development mentoring from the Prosus universe.

Recommending startups in the assistive tech space to take part in SICA, Aman Srivastava, Co-founder, Thinkerbell Labs says,The program really stands out for not only increasing our knowledge base in a variety of business areas through the mentorship program but also helping apply this knowledge to significantly improve our operations. SICA is also doing incredible work in mainstreaming the AT sector.

A game changer in the AT segment, SICA is creating a multi-stakeholder ecosystem that has enabled the assistive tech space to go from being seen as a charity driven space to one that’s financially viable.

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