Started in the month of April in 2020, in order to support women-led start-ups as well as to provide solutions to many problems that women face, the Shri Shakti challenge unfolded in two stages called Ideation stage and Proof of Concept stage. A total of 1265 individuals signed up for the challenge of which 25 were shortlisted and were made to present their ideas and business models to a jury consisting of eminent individuals like Debjani Ghosh, President NASSCOM, Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer (CTO) Microsoft India, Dr R Ramanan, MD Atal Innovation Mission, Nishtha Satyam, Dy Country representative, UN Women India and Abhishek Singh, CEO MyGov.
The jury evaluated the presentations made by all twenty-five teams on the basis of various qualities like innovativeness, usability, relevance and potential impact of the proposed company. After a detailed reviewing of each of the team’s presentations, eleven out of the twenty-five were shortlisted and selected for the second round. In order to further expand their start ups, each of the eleven teams was given a prize money of 75,000 rupees.
However, companies that come into the top three of the competition were awarded an additional 2 lakhs along with the 5 lakhs that they received as a result of the generosity of UN Women. The exceptional top three include Dr P Gayari Hela, Romita Ghosh and Dr Anjana Ramkumar and Dr Anushka Ashokan. Dr P Gayatri Hela is the founder of Bangalore-based company Resada Lifesciences Private Limited. The company designs and produces home-made and agricultural based products by making use of plant extracts instead of synthetic chemicals.
On the other hand, Romita Ghosh is a cancer- survivor and has founded the company iHeal HealthTech Private Limited which is based in Shimla and has been one of the leading companies that provides PPE kits to healthcare workers and hospitals. The duo of Dr Anjana Ramkumar and Dr Anushka Ashokan are respectively the product manager and co-founder of Thanmathra Innovations Private Limited which is a company based in the state of Kerala that has come up with an antimicrobial solution which helps keep dupattas and shawls bacteria-free therefore allowing them to be used as face masks.
The top three companies that have been identified to be ‘Promising Solutions’ are Vasanthi Palanivel’s Seragen BioTherapeutics Private Limited, Shivi Kapil’s Empathy Design Labs and finally Jaya and Ankita Parashar’s STREAM Minds. The first two companies are based in the city of Bangalore. Through her start up, Vasanthi Palanivel has provided a plasma solution to treat respiratory problems that arise as side effects of contracting the virus. Shivi Kapil’s company has come up with a wearable device for daily monitoring of pregnancy in order to assist pregnant women who were unable to visit hospitals for regular check ups during the pandemic. Finally, the Parashar duo’s company is an ed tech company that promotes education in the fields of science, arts, reading, writing, mathematics and technology for school children in the country. They have also designed a ‘Dobot’ which is an automatic robot that assists in deliveries which will, in turn, reduce risks of spreading the virus in hospitals and healthcare clinics.