Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility supported by SUI and Social Alpha is a search for start-ups and social enterprises that have created innovative revenue-led products, equipment, or systems that enhance the learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.
a) Any individual or group of individuals, representing a start-up, who have an innovative idea that addresses challenges faced by persons with disabilities (PwDs) globally are eligible to participate. An entity shall be considered as a “Start-up”, if it has been incorporated as a private limited company or a partnership or a limited liability corporation/partnership as per applicable national laws for a period of less than 10 years from the last date of submission of applications (October 19, 2022). Applying ‘Indian’ entities need to be additionally registered as a “Start-up” with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), and meet the necessary ownership and incorporation requirements as mandated by DPIIT.
b) The participating startup should be an independent entity. It should not be a subsidiary of an existing corporation or have legal ties to any government body.
c) The participating startup should have a developed prototype and must have completed user testing.
Improved infrastructure to deliver education and skilling among people with visual Impairment. This includes (but not limited to) access to right and affordable digital and physical content, improving physical and digital infrastructure at school and home, training and supporting special educators, and promoting inclusivity in mainstream education.
Supporting and improving existing corporate and government infrastructure to make employment more inclusive for people with visual impairment and providing professional training to people with visual impairment. This includes (but is not limited to) physical and digital infrastructure, availability of the right tools, process and design improvements, training of the community around people with Visual impairment, or making online training and courses accessible.
Solutions that promote independent living of the person at home or in public places. This includes (but not limited to), better community infrastructure- Physical and Digital, or tools that support the inclusion of a person with visual impairment in routine activities such as daily household chores, navigation with the home and outside, and other mobility issues.
Developmental Disability & Chronic Neurological Conditions
There is a need for solutions that can promote affordable and scalable screening and diagnosis of hidden cognitive disabilities among early age groups, or progression of cognitive disability such as Dementia in the elderly, allowing for timely interventions. This includes (but is not limited to) tools to identify key indicators, tools for easy adoption with minimal training, diagnosis of the actual reasons to provide the right medications/therapies, tools measuring the progress of the disability and even therapy, or tools to promote awareness.
Innovations that can allow improved and affordable clinical pathways of the therapy/treatment/management and can reduce the burden on the limited number of clinicians. This includes (but is not limited to) improved clinical efficiency, solutions adding more therapy providers, innovations reducing the cost of therapy/treatments, or allowing remote availability, or promoting home care.
Innovation that can promote independent living of people with neurological disabilities such as Parkinson’s, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis etc.
Treatment or Therapy
Solutions that can improve the clinical pathways of providing therapies to people with physical disabilities including (but are not limited to) improved affordability, acceleration of therapies, and remote treatment and management. Solutions may also include robotic rehabilitation that enhances therapy and helps in adherence.
An innovative and affordable product or a service that allows people with physical disabilities to live independently, including (but not limited to) mobility, improved physical infrastructure for easy access, monitoring, and assistive tools to supplement daily activities, or faster infrastructural assessments.
Speech and Hearing Disability
Affordable technologies and services can prompt, train, and detect hearing loss among children of early age groups and among elders, such that the golden period is not lost. This includes (but is not limited to) home tools, affordable and efficient screening services, technologies, and innovation in identifying hearing loss reasons or assessing therapy progress.
Services and technologies that can provide an efficient clinical pathway for improved therapies for hearing and speech loss. This includes (but is not limited to) improved home and clinical treatment, process innovation, and affordable assistive aids for improved hearing and speech such that dependency is reduced.
Education and Skilling
Solutions that provide accessible education for people with hearing loss across all age groups. This includes (but is not limited to) solutions for training teachers and parents, solutions to improve digital access to content, tools allowing easy communications in classrooms, or improved and faster content development and its delivery.
Solutions that promote inclusion of persons with both hearing and speech impairment in official infrastructure and which can easily be adopted. This includes (but is not limited to) solutions that allow for easy and effective communications in office infrastructure that its effective in both one-on-one and large group settings.
Prosus has committed $250,000 over three years to Prosus SICA. Each year, the top three startups providing assistive technology solutions will receive a grant from Prosus. Further, the top three startups are also eligible to receive follow-on funding from Social Alpha of up to $120,000 over three years. In 2022, top three startups will be awarded grants worth $35,000, $25,000, and $15,000 respectively.
On top of fiscal incentives, SICA will provide following additional benefits to the top startups:
SICA Mentorship Programme
Each year, the top five startups from SICA, will get a unique opportunity to participate in a highly selective mentorship programme, curated by Prosus’s global group of experts. The mentorship programme will help these startups scale their business and succeed. At the end of the mentorship programme, startups can stay connected through an alumni networking initiative called SICA LENS (Learning, Engagement, Networking, and Service).
Access to Social Alpha Open Innovation Platform for Assistive Technologies
Additionally, the top three startups will gain access to the Social Alpha Open Innovation Platform for Assistive Technologies — an online ecosystem of innovators, funders, technical experts, and other stakeholders across the assistive technologies value chain. Through this platform, startups will have the opportunity to share and validate their solutions and build connections with key individuals or organizations in the accessibility sector.
Incubation Opportunity with Social Alpha
Each top start-up (that receives grant support) will get direct access to Social Alpha’s team for a one-on-one mentoring session to go over the start-up’s roadmap, marketing, and validation plan.
The startup can further engage with Social Alpha for long-term support through their standard/advance incubation program. The incubation support is subject to further due diligence by Social Alpha.
Follow on Funding Opportunity of up to INR 50 Lakh
Subject to further due diligence and upon mutual agreement on terms of engagement, the top start-ups can access long-term funding support through Social Alpha’s seed capital investment programs.