The World Bank estimates that there are anywhere between 40 to 80 million Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in India—i.e. one in twelve households has a family member with a disability. However, due to low literacy levels, social stigma and lack of opportunities, PwDs remain the most excluded members of Indian society. Additionally, India lacks a vibrant market of assistive technologies (AT) and inclusive solutions that cater to, and empower PwDs.
It is our mission to improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of innovative assistive technology solutions to enable a better quality of life for millions of PwDs in India.
The BIRAC-Social Alpha Quest for Assistive Technologies, supported by Mphasis is a search for the top 10 innovative and entrepreneurial teams in the country that have developed market-ready assistive technologies and inclusive solutions.
Key Challenges in the AT Ecosystem
- Current market is represented by a small segment of users, restricted to urban hubs
- Poor data on PwDs makes it difficult to develop sustainable sales channels
- Segmented market makes it difficult to collect user feedback
- Limited ways to broadcast information about the solution
- End users are not able to afford the existing products in the market
- Lack of data on consumer needs and expectations results in poor market fit and poor quality products
- Lack of accessibility and knowledge about the solutions
- Cottage industry – Products are not designed for manufacturing and the ecosystem has limited manufacturing partners
- Limited sales and distribution partners lead to difficulty in creating physical linkages and providing after sales services
- Low funds in the ecosystem, which attract less number of innovators, institutes and VCs
4 Pillars of Market Access for
AT Solution Providers
- Establishment of product-market fit, and determination of the target customer, market size, and key geographies
- Identification and testing the affordability thresholds vis-à-vis value proposition
- Exploration and enablement of appropriate subsidies
- Optimization for Design for Manufacturing and supply chain /procurement
- Refinement of software and hardware to optimise the efficiency and effectiveness of the product
- Certifications and reengineering tools to improve adoption
- Development of marketing, branding and communication strategy
- Building distribution channels and developing sales plans
- Provision of omnichannel retail as well as assisted consultative sales support
- Community building and user-trainings with a strong pre- and post-sales service model
- Partnership with specialty Hospitals/Clinics for trials/validation pilots
- Adoption of products with NGO and Distribution partners
- Boosting investment in the ecosystem through Investors, Corporates, foundations and Financial Institutions partners
Up to 10 winners to receive
A three month accelerator designed by business and sector experts, to fast-track the market access journey of a startup
An initial support of up to INR 10 lakhs and follow-on support of INR 10 Lakhs on meeting certain criteria
Support worth up to INR 10 Lakhs for Design and Manufacturing optimisation, and up to INR 20 Lakhs for Clinical Validation subject to due-diligence
Customised support will be provided for the development of product delivery channels for each start-up
The partners will cover aspects of business and strategy, implementation and user-base understanding, and funding respectively
Strategic marketing support through the online and offline partners, as well as access to multiple sector-specific events
Long term business incubation support from the Social Alpha ecosystem, including seed capital investment programs, subject to due-diligence
The platform is an online enabling ecosystem of innovators, funders, technical experts and other stakeholders across the supply chain.
Who can Apply?
- BIRAC-Social Alpha Quest for Assistive Technologies, supported by Mphasis, is a search for start-ups, social enterprises, or non-profits who have created innovative products, equipment, or systems that enhance the learning, working and daily living for persons-with-disabilities.
- Individual innovators are also eligible to apply for the program. As the Quest is looking for innovators to work on establishing marketing channels for existing products, and not research and product development, only those with developed ideas and/or prototypes should apply.
- A company which has applied has to be owned by resident Indian citizen i.e. at least 51% of capital in the company is owned beneficially by resident Indian citizen or by Indian companies eventually controlled & owned by a resident Indian citizen.
Jun 27, 2019
Aug 15, 2019
Oct 15, 2019
Technical Jury Round Reference Checks
Nov 2019 – Feb 2020
Accelerator for Inclusive Solutions
Dec 2019 – Mar 2020
Disbursement for work order grants
Post Feb 2020
Follow-on Funding and Investment Opportunity
Frequently Asked Questions
The ‘BIRAC- Social Alpha Quest for Assistive Technologies– supported by Mphasis’ is a search for start-ups, social enterprises, or non-profits who have created innovative products, equipment, or systems that enhance the learning, working and daily living for persons-with-disabilities.
To know more about the Quest, we request you to go through our frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) section:
Terms and Conditions
Please read the following terms and conditions before submitting your entry:
- Any individual or group of individuals, whether incorporated or otherwise, regardless of age and nationality, who has an innovative idea that addresses social issues in India (though not exclusively), is eligible to participate.
- Participating or proposed ventures should be independent entities, meaning that they should not be a subsidiary of an existing corporation or have legal ties to a government body.
- Existing non-profits can participate; however, they should propose a venturing idea or a new plan to transform their existing solutions into a more sustainable solution.
- The Quest is looking for innovators wanting to work on establishing marketing channels for existing products, and not for research and product development. Only those with developed ideas and/or prototypes should apply.
Submissions and Participation
- Incomplete Submissions will be deemed void and disqualified from the Quest evaluations.
- Submissions should be the original work of the participant/ participating entity and should demonstrate positive sustainable and scalable social impact in India (though not exclusive to the region).
- Participants who are determined to be ‘Finalists’, ranked in the top 30, might be required to send at least one core member for the final round of evaluations tentatively to Bengaluru, India.
- Finalists agree to allow the use of details of their enterprise, including their names, photographs, disclosure of their country of residence; and are required to cooperate with any other reasonable requests by the organiser relating to any publicity-related activities.
- Finalists are required to submit a declaration of good standing and solvency at the final stage of evaluation. If there is any change in circumstance that invalidates their good standing and solvency, the team is to immediately inform the organisers.
- All participants own the rights to their ideas. Participants must properly acknowledge any trademarked, patented or copyrighted materials of others that are incorporated into their submission materials. Participants are responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions before utilizing such materials into their submissions.
- Submitted ideas are protected in the spirit of non-disclosure, and all submitted materials will be treated as company confidential. The only people with access to the entry materials will be judges and select members of the organising committee. Materials will not be distributed to any other party unless requested by the participant. No other provisions are made to protect intellectual property.
- Participants are advised not to disclose critical information which would affect a successful filing of patent(s). All presentations are open to the general public, and some presentations may be videotaped. Attendance by media personnel is expected in the final stages of the program. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by participants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions.
Decisions regarding the winners
- The selection of the ‘Winners’ is at the sole discretion of the judges and the organisers from Social Alpha and partnering organisations. Best efforts will be made to make decisions in accordance with this document.
- Throughout any and all phases of the Quest, all decisions by the judges are final.
Disqualification and Organiser’s Right to Amend Competition Rules
- The organisers of the Quest reserve the right to disqualify any participant who is found to have violated the spirit of the Quest’s guidelines and terms and conditions stated herein. Disqualified participants shall forfeit any and all prizes awarded to them.
- The organisers reserve the right to amend these rules at any point before the Closing Date of the Quest in line with the overall goal of the Quest.
- The indicated dates for the Quest may be revised at any point of time by the organisers. Any change in schedule will be suitably intimated on the Quest webpage and on other relevant platforms.
- The winners will be given implementation support of up to INR 10 lakhs in the form of work orders. No cash prizes will be awarded.
- Any other need-based support mentioned in the offerings beyond the prize of upto INR 10 Lakh, will be decided on a case-to-case basis, based on the assessment of the startups needs and stage, subject to qualification criteria and discretion of organizers.