Innovation for a change: Prosus launches Prosus SICA 2021 initiative
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Innovation for a change: Prosus launches Prosus SICA 2021 initiative


Assistive technology is an emerging industry in India and has already carved out a niche for itself. Numerous startups are focusing on fine-tuning advanced technology for the benefit of the disabled and the elderly populace. These two categories of society are severely disadvantaged when it comes to technology. As such developing user-friendly assistive technology will go a long way in bringing about total inclusivity.

Dutch internet services giant, Prosus, launched the second edition of its Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (SICA) initiative and invited startups to present their ideas. The Prosus SICA initiative was created last year by the company with the goal of finding promising solutions in the assistive technology sphere. Tech startups present their unique ideas and solutions and compete for an annual grant and a place in the Prosus SICA mentorship programme.

The initiative was recognized as a valid CSR activity in August by the Assis Tech Foundation. Three other organizations are partners in the initiative – Invest India, Social Alpha and the World Health Organization (WHO). Prosus has earmarked a total of Rs.1.65 crores for the initiative which will be disbursed over a period of three years. Each edition will award annual grants to the top three startups. Additionally, the top five finalists will be inducted into the Prosus SICA mentorship programme.

Prosus SICA 2020 was a runaway success. Over 200 applications were submitted from 25 states and 7 union territories across India. Three companies, namely, Sohum Innovation Lab (Bangalore), NeoMotion (Chennai) and Stamuri (New Delhi) were judged to be the top three finalists and received annual grants for their innovative solutions. Two other finalists – Cogniable and Thinkerbell Solutions, both from Delhi – were also inducted into the SICA mentorship programme.

This year, startups with the most potential to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities will be identified and awarded grants and admitted to the mentorship programme. The annual grants stand as follows –

First prize: Rs.25 lakhs
Second prize: Rs.18 lakhs
Third prize: Rs.12 lakhs

As an added bonus, eligible startups will also have the opportunity to work with Social Alpha. Social Alpha is an incubator for entrepreneurs and startups across India and can also provide an additional $40,000 to the top startups.

Talking about the initiative, Sehraj Singh, Managing Director, Prosus India, said, “Enabling entrepreneurs across the world to improve people’s daily lives is our mission at Prosus. Here in India, the needs of 70 million persons living with some form of disability have remained under-served despite a vibrant startup ecosystem. We believe that there can be a thriving market for assistive technologies and last year’s excellent response to our inaugural Prosus SICA initiative validated this belief.”

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