‘Impactful, disruptive, meaningful’. – Prosus India Director on goals of Social Impact Accessibility Challenge
Global technology investor Prosus has announced a nationwide contest to discover the most innovative start-ups in assistive technology. The Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (SICA) is supported by Invest India, Startup India and Social Alpha and aims to bridge the gaps in service faced by India’s disabled community. The contest is open for registrations until 19 October.
In an interview to NewzHook, Sehraj Singh, Director, Public Policy and Corporate Affairs, Prosus India, said the contest aims to address the challenges of quality high class solutions which are also affordable for use.
NewzHook (NH) – Stereotypes apart, what do you see as the main challenges coming in the way of India’s disabled community participating as equal citizens?
Sehraj Singh (SS) – There is a huge shortage of high quality and affordable assistive technology
solutions that can empower persons with disabilities. This requires a push for commercial investment
in innovations that can cater to them. Innovations should be universal, not only assistive.
At a practical level, this means contestants of Prosus SICA should attempt to develop products that require minimal customisation for the differently abled. The governing principle is that disability ought
to be regarded as an ‘instance of diversity, not as a limitation’.
Through this contest we hope to produce quality products based on innovations by creative and brilliant Indian minds.
Affordable, quality products is key
NH – How does assistive technology hold the key to changing this?
It is estimated that 25% of the world’s population will need assistive technology by 2030. We will have
to introduce solutions and innovations which impact these lives positively. This challenge is perhaps the
first step towards this. We believe the introduction of assistive technology in areas like vision,
developmental, locomotor and psychosocial disabilities, as well as neurological conditions will be the
key towards empowerment and enablement.
NH – What are the some of the challenges that the contest hopes to help overcome?
SS – Prosus SICA will aim to address the challenges of quality high class solutions which are also
affordable. It will also bring together two key government campaigns, Digital India and Accessible India.
Through SICA we want to do something which is a bit different but just as impactful, disruptive and
SICA will seek to fund and nurture start-ups which have developed the most innovative interventions
in assistive technology for people with disabilities. A grant of ₹ 16,500,000 will be awarded in this
annual challenge over the next three years
Applications open until 19 October
We will provide the three annual winners technical support, mentorship, and business advice with the
ultimate aim to help the startups succeed.
NH – Who are the experts you are collaborating with in this contest?
SS – Prosus SICA has been developed in partnership with Startup India, the national investment
promotion and facilitation agency of India, and Social Alpha, an initiative supported by Tata Trusts. Startup India, the government’s investment promotion and facilitation agency, will help us reach
startups who can deliver these solutions and drive us towards a more Atmanirbhar Bharat as
envisioned by Prime Minister Modi.
Social Alpha which is sponsored by Tata Trusts has incubated more than 100 startups since 2016. Social
Alpha has supported over 16 startups in the assistive technology space and have been validating their
product-market fit, helping with clinical trials, and bridging the gaps that exist in the distribution and
We are also assembling a diverse jury which will be composed of a cross section of experts who will be
able to bring in different voices and applications to the solutions.
We are committed to support a diverse, inclusive and safe environment for all our people regardless
of where they come from, what they look like, who they love, how or whether they worship.
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