The winners were selected from a pool of 1265 applications, and had to successfully overcome two jury deliberations before 6 women-led startups were selected as winners of the MyGov and UN Women Shri Shakti Challenge.
Earlier this year, UN Women and MyGov developed the Shri Shakti Challenge, inviting women-led and women-oriented startups to propose solutions addressing issues created by COVID-19, as well as those impacting women at large.
The objective of the challenge was to encourage and support innovation by women-led startups, and was issued under the UN Women’s European Union-funded WeEmpowerAsia programme.
The entries opened in April, and 25 participant startups were selected out of more than 1200 applications. The challenge was implemented in two stages, Ideation and Proof of Concept. The 25 startups then presented their ideas to the jury, and of them 11 finalists moved forward to the next stage. They were each allotted ₹75,000 to develop their concept.
Further, mentorship sessions were organised to help the startups better understand how to scale up their concepts. The sessions covered “…business modelling, financial modelling, legal certifications, digital marketing, product design, art of making pitch.”
From the final presentations of the solutions, three participants were selected as winners. An additional three were recognised as ‘Promising Solutions’.
The top three winners were awarded ₹5 lakhs each, while UN Women agreed to offer an additional reward of ₹2 lakhs for the startups who presented ‘Promising Solutions’.
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The Winners Of The Shri Shakti COVID Challenge Are:
Dr. P Gayatri Hela | Founder, Resada Lifesciences Pvt. Ltd.
The Bengaluru-based startup designs plant-based products for home and agricultural uses. Their innovation was a non-alcoholic hand santiser made using plant extracts.
Romita Ghosh | Founder, iHeal HealthTech Pvt. Ltd.
The Shimla-based startup developed a UV sterilization box for safe reuse of PPEs and masks. Fully scaled, the innovation would help reduce costs and waste for hospitals and others.
Dr. Anjana Ramkumar & Dr. Anushka Ashokan | Product Manager & Co-Founder, Thanmatra Innovations Pvt. Ltd.
The Kerala-based startup has created an antimicrobial solution which can be sprayed into handkerchiefs and dupattas. This will ensure that they are sanitised, and can safely used as face masks.
The ‘Promising Solutions’ Proposed For The Shri Shakti Challenge Are:
Vasanthi Palanivel | CEO & Co-Founder, Seragen BioTherapeutics Pvt. Ltd.
The Bengaluru-based startup developed a plasma solution. This can be used to treat respiratory distress for patients suffering from COVID-19.
Shivi Kapil | Co-Founder, Empathy Design Labs
The Bengaluru-based startup designed an IoT-embedded wearable daily pregnancy monitor to support parents who cannot go to the hospital often due to COVID-19.
Jaya Parashar & Ankita Parashar | Founder & Co-Founder, STREAM Minds
The EdTech startup designed ‘Dodot’ , a fully-automated robot which can perform in-house delivery assistance in hospitals and clinics to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
The number of entrants for The Shri Shakti Challenge, and the spark of innovation shown by the winners and ‘Promising Solutions’, is evidence of the skill and spirit of women entrepreneurs.
By supporting their endeavours, MyGov and UN Women are helping promote the development of more women-led startups, and women-led solutions.
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