New Delhi: Villgro, India’s pioneering incubator for social enterprises in collaboration with the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) announced the launch of Innovation Challenge, an initiative to unearth disruptive ideas and technological solutions in the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) space.
This Innovation Challenge aims to attract applications from startups as well as individual innovators working to find solutions for challenges in SRH. It is a youth-focused program and innovators who would be selected through this challenge will get access to a highly curated immersion program with industry experts to create a pilot prototype solution. Winners would be selected for receiving a cash prize of up to Rs. 3.5 lakhs. Innovators may also be provided with relevant connections for follow-on funding and incubation support.
Any individual or a group of individuals who are citizens of India or a startup working to find solutions in sexual and reproductive health are eligible to participate in the challenge.
1. Call for applications: 9th Oct to 30th Oct.
2. Immersion program: 5th Nov to 15th Nov.
3. Rapid prototyping and preparation for virtual pitches: 16th Nov to 28th Nov.
4. Virtual Pitches and Presentation for final cash award: 29th Nov to 3rd Dec.
The solutions by startups or innovators participating in the challenge must address one of the following problem statements:
a. Technology-driven solutions for multilingual comprehensive sexual education
b. Affordable, easy to use solutions for early diagnosis of pregnancy
c. Eco-friendly, affordable, easy to use solutions for dispensing and disposing of sanitary napkins
d. Easy and Early diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
e. Affordable, multiparameter, ovulation monitoring and management solutions
On the launch of the Innovation Challenge, Ramanathan. V, Practice Head, Villgro said, ‘We are delighted to launch the Innovation Challenge which is a distinct program in the Indian Entrepreneurship ecosystem as it seeks to encourage innovative technological solutions in sexual and reproductive health. Srinivasan Ramanujam, CEO, Villgro added that “India lags behind many countries in the development of infrastructure to deal with sexual and reproductive health problems. With the vibrant innovation ecosystem we have seen in the startup space in India, we expect disruptive solutions in SRH and also provide a platform for many entrepreneurs and innovators to convert their ideas into sustainable business models.”
Speaking on the need for initiatives like the Innovation Challenge, FPAI said, “Young people and their sexual and reproductive health needs have emerged as one of the priority areas in the SRHR sector. Young people often lack the information and agency to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. Over the last two decades, the world has seen an advancement of technology and innovation in every field. The use of technology therefore offers a multitude of opportunities to promote youth sexual and reproductive health, prevention of unplanned pregnancies, better management of menstrual hygiene and menstruation-related disorders. It is an opportune time to explore how technology can give rise to pivotal solutions with high impact potential to address the challenges faced by young people.”
Dr. Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, FPA India said, “The Innovation Challenge will facilitate the co-creation of technology-based solutions that will enable more young people to demand information and services pertaining to sexuality education, modern contraception, and reproductive healthcare.”