- Top startups to be announced on December 2nd ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities
- The World Health Organization will collaborate with Prosus on the social impact initiative with technical advisory and support for successful startups
NEW DELHI, Nov. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Prosus, the global consumer internet group of Naspers, today announced the composition of an expert jury to adjudicate the inaugural Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (Prosus SICA), and that the World Health Organization (WHO) has come on board to support the initiative alongside existing partners Invest India, Startup India, and Social Alpha.
Over 20 million people in India live with disabilities, and globally more than 1 billion people need one or more assistive products.1 Launched in August 2020, Prosus SICA is a social impact programme to identify and support the most promising Indian startups advancing assistive technology for persons with disabilities. Prosus has committed INR 16,500,000 over three years to this initiative, which received over 200 applications from startups across India.
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.
Composition of the Prosus SICA jury:
- Arman Ali, Disability rights activist and Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People
- Dr Patanjali Nayar, Regional Adviser for Disability, Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, WHO
- Dr K. G. Satheesh, Director, Center for Assistive Technology and Innovation, National Institute of Speech and Hearing
- Dr Meenu Bhambhani, VP and Head of Corporate Citizenship, Inclusion and Diversity, State Street
- Dr Soikat Ghosh, Assistant Director, Mobility India
- Dr Pooja Mukul, Director, Jaipur Foot Rehabilitation Center
- Dr. Senthil Kumar, Chief Innovation Officer, Association for Persons with Disability
- Dr. Akila Surendran, Senior Engineer (Assistive Technology), National Institute of Speech and Hearing
- Dr. Vinitha George, Head of Department, Audio and Speech Language Pathology, National Institute of Speech and Hearing
- Mr. George Sebastian, Head of eiLabs, EnAble India
- Dr. Sam Taraporevala, Director, Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged
- Ms. Neha Trivedi, Project Consultant, Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged
- Dr. M.V. Ashok, Head, Centre for Advanced Research and Excellence in Autism and Development Disorders, St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru
- Mr. Vidit Aatrey, Founder and CEO, Meesho
- Mr. Raghu Gullapali, Executive Director, Global Operations, Innovation & Partnership, LV Prasad Eye Institute
- Prof (Dr) PVM Rao, Head, Department of Design, IIT Delhi
- Dr Suresh Nair, CTO, Foundation for Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship & Co-founder, Design Alpha
- Mr. Dipesh Sutariya, Co-founder and CEO, EnAble India
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 on December 2nd, ahead of International Day of People with Disabilities on December 3rd. The top startup will receive INR 2,500,000, and the first and second runners-up will receive INR 1,800,000 and INR 1,200,000, respectively.
All three startups will also be inducted into a new Prosus SICA mentorship programme, which will see them 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.
Chapal Khasnabis, Head, Access to Assistive Technology and Medical Devices Unit, WHO, Geneva said: “Collective action is required to address the needs and challenges faced in creating and providing assistive tech solutions. We are happy to support Prosus SICA to make this change and pave the way for the future.”
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.”
Manoj Kumar, Chairman & Founder, Social Alpha, said: “We are delighted to see such a strong and diverse jury and we look forward to learning about and supporting the startups it selects. Social Alpha will work with SICA’s top startups as they look to grow their businesses and, in doing so, improving accessibility to assistive technology across India.”
About Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility
Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (Prosus SICA) is a Prosus-backed social impact investing challenge. Prosus is committing INR 16,500,000 over three years to Prosus SICA, and each year will award grants to the top three winning startups working in the area of accessibility. First place will receive INR 2,500,000, second place INR 1,800,000 and third place INR 1,200,000.
For further background about Prosus and partners supporting Prosus SICA, please visit:
Prosus SICA: Prosus launches social impact challenge for access
Invest India: https://www.investindia.gov.in/
Startup India: https://www.startupindia.gov.in/
Social Alpha: https://www.socialalpha.org/
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