Singapore (November 25, 2016): Three young social entrepreneurs were awarded at the Project Inspire 2016 Grand Finals announced today at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development at Marina Bay Sands.
Applicants aged 18 to 35 were asked to submit a sustainable idea to improve the lives of women and girls in Asia Pacific for the chance to win a US$25,000 Grand Prize and a US$10,000 Financial Inclusion Award to implement their projects. Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World, a global social impact challenge aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged women and girls in Asia Pacific, is co-organised by Singapore Committee for UN Women and Mastercard. The challenge saw 270 entries from across the world, with ten projects emerging as finalists to present their ideas live in Singapore at the Grand Finals.
The winning team, CareNx Innovations, represented by Co-founder and Executive Director, Aditya Kulkarni, took home Mastercard’s Grand Prize of US$25,000 for their project in India.
“We are very grateful towards the Singapore Committee for UN Women and Mastercard for giving us an opportunity to present ourselves and our work. This competition was a check to realize that we are working in the right way or an important problem. With this grand prize, we wish to scale our mobile pregnancy care solution to reach out to at least 2000 pregnancies and 20 women health workers in next 1 year. We have a dream to reach out to 2 million pregnancies in next 3 years and this prize would get us started,” commented Aditya Kulkarni.
Through CareNx’s CareMother Mobile Pregnancy Care, women healthcare workers will be equipped with a mobile pregnancy kit that enables door-to-door antenatal care services to pregnant women living in rural villages. Their project aims to reduce the high maternity deaths caused by pregnancy complications through early detection and increased health checks.
Project Inspire also presented a Financial Inclusion Award of US$10,000 by Mazars and Mastercard to Village Volunteers represented by Riyanka Ganguly. In the deliberation room, Yvette Oh, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Asia Pacific for Mastercard generously offered to include another prize as all the judges were very impressed by potential of one of the finalist teams. This new prize a Special Recognition Award of US$5,000 was awarded to The Global Women’s Project.
Last month, Village Volunteers, supporting a project in India, secured the most votes from the public to win the People’s Choice Award through a crowdfunding campaign, courtesy of Crowdfunding Partner Impact Guru. The Village Volunteers’ crowdfunding was backed by 423 supporters, raising a total of US$12,693 in 30 days, guaranteeing their spot as one of the 10 finalists. Knowledge Partner, INSEAD, also awarded three representatives: Aparna Saxena from Colorss Foundation, Theresia Sembiring from A New Vision, and Riyanka Ganguly from Village Volunteers) with full scholarships to INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme (ISEP).
Project Inspire’s 10 finalists arrived in Singapore on 21 November for a week-long boot camp, including one-on-one mentoring and workshops led by experts and thought leaders, finally culminating at the Project Inspire Grand Finals, which were held at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development. Each finalist was given five minutes to pitch their ideas live to the -strong audience, including members of the public, supporting organisations and a panel of esteemed judges and industry experts.
The annual competition, now in its sixth year, received close to 270 proposals from the region working on women’s and girls’ safety and security.
The competition had three stages beginning with the launch of the sixth edition of Project Inspire on 31 March 2016. Out of the 270 proposals received from 109 countries, 20 made it to the Semi-Finals stage and took part in an international crowdfunding campaign, courtesy of official Crowdfunding Partner, Impact Guru. The winner of this stage was granted the ‘People’s Choice Award’ and was guaranteed a spot in the Grand Finals. Nine other finalists were then selected among the semi-finalists and all ten teams received an all-expenses-paid trip to Singapore for the Grand Finals Week.
Project Inspire is co-organised and co-founded by Singapore Committee for UN Women and Mastercard. Knowledge Partner, INSEAD and Strategic Partner, Bain & Company have been long-term supporters of the initiative. Mazars joins the competition for 2016, in support of women’s empowerment and social entrepreneurship. This year, the initiative also welcomes returning Program Partner, Independent Project Analysis, new Program Partner, Own Your Brilliance, and Crowdfunding Partner, Impact Guru.
Prior to shortlisting finalists, 20 projects were vying for a finalist spot during the competition’s semi-finalist stage – a crowdfunding contest courtesy of official Crowdfunding Partner, Impact Guru. The online fundraising was introduced to increase exposure for semi-finalists. Village Volunteers, supporting a project in India, was voted as People’s Choice Award by the general public, leading the crowdfunding campaign with 423 supporters and total raised amount of US$12,693 in 30 days, guaranteeing them a spot as a finalist.
Piyush Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, Impact Guru said: “The crowdfunding stage for Project Inspire was a tremendous success with approximately US$40,000 raised from more than 1,100 supporters from over 30 countries. Indian organizations have bagged the top 2 prizes totaling US$35,000, highlighting that Indian social entrepreneurs stand at the forefront of innovation in generating social impact across Asia and the Pacific.”