Bangalore : Following multiple rounds of shortlisting from a pool of 1200+ entries and bootcamp-style coaching, the coveted SmartIDEAthon 2022 Challenge has announced the top 32 teams set to compete it out on the semi-finals stage at GITAM (Deemed to be) University’s Vizag campus. Six talented teams from Karnataka have made it to the final 32 with their ambitious social innovation ideas carrying potent answers to five of the most burning issues India faces.
The 32 teams will now sculpt their ideas even more in an Advanced Bootcamp on July 30, followed by semi-finals on August 10 and a grand on-stage finale on August 11, 2022.
Dubbed one of India’s biggest social innovation pitchfests, the competition is organized by GITAM’s Venture Development Centre (VDC) in association with Startup India (a flagship initiative of the Government of India), Invest India, Northeastern University Center for Emerging Markets (NUCEM), Boston and Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education (NUCEE), Boston. To boost India’s growing startup culture, the mega pitchfest will culminate in sponsored trips to Boston and cash and grants worth Rs. 30 lakh for winners and runners-up.
The grand-scale event comes at a time when India registered a staggering rise of 15,400 per cent in the number of startups from 2016 to mid-2022. SmartIDEAthon 2022 witnessed undergraduate and postgraduate students pursuing engineering and science courses from universities and colleges all over India.
Of the 32, the maximum number of shortlisted venture ideas belong to the Health Tech and Assistive Technology (20) theme. On its heels are Food and Agriculture and Clean/Green Technology (4 each), and Waste Management and Water Management (2 each). These themes align with not just the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but also the nation’s Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration.
The competing ideas are targeted towards addressing pertinent social issues. In Health Tech and Assistive Technology theme, most of the ideas work towards making health care services accessible and affordable even to the remotest part of the country. Under Waste Management and Water Management theme, students have come up with ideas to solve the burning issue of waste management while a few venture ideas focus on water scarcity and availability of safe drinking water. Students also submitted ideas to address depletion of natural resources by using renewable energy in the Green/Clean Tech theme. In the Food and Agriculture theme, the ideas support agriculture, aquaculture and different food and allied areas.
SmartIDEAthon 2022 has registered participation from 28 states, including 3 Union Territories and some remote cities, proving that it has reached the grassroots of India. From the initial 1200+ entries, 100 longlisted ideas received preparatory mentoring in an online Bootcamp by Dr. Ravi Shankar Saripalle, Founder, Inspire to Innovate Storytelling and Prof Balkumar Marthi, Dean – Faculty of Sciences at GITAM University.
In the second Bootcamp, highly-experienced professors and venture coaches from VDC will groom the ideas and participants, before they take to the finale stage in front of judges including Prof Shameem Javed, Chair, Entrepreneurship Development, IIM Vizag; Malini Parmar, Co-Founder at StoneSoup; and Ramjee Pallela, COO, Atal Incubation Centre – CCMB. Renowned industry stalwarts such as Ajay Ponna Venkatesh (Co-Founder, Scapic, Currently building Flipkart Camera Platform) and Yamuna Sastry (Chief Impact Officer, Dvara Money and Founder – Cabdost) will inspire the students with their words.