Over the last 11 years, the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge has awarded more than $400,000 to over 74 teams that have implemented service projects in 28 countries. Those teams have moved on to secure over $3.2 million in follow-on funding, serving the needs of tens of thousands of people across the globe. And 13 new teams received funding last night.
Sponsored by the MIT Public Service Center, the IDEAS Global Challenge supports innovation and entrepreneurship as public service, connecting students who aim to improve the world with MIT’s global resources. Thirty-seven teams competed this year, and were critiqued by a panel of judges, along with over 5,000 people from around the world. Individuals were allotted up to three votes to nominate teams for the Community Choice Award, $1,500 each.
Here’s a look at the teams who walked away with funding last night, along with the amount they won and what the judges had to say about the top two $10,000 winners, courtesy of the Public Service Center.
Essmart — $10,000 — Essmart gives rural Indian retail shops access to technologies that can improve their customers’ lives.
The judges’ take: The team’s taking on a “significant opportunity to improve the lives of the poor in India, and elsewhere, by developing a more effective distribution channel for innovative technologies to reach poor households.” They know their customers, partners and have adapted their business model to their target market.
recovers.org — $10,000 — recovers.org develops tech tools for disaster relief.
The judges’ take: “This team wowed the judges at every level. Their idea is simple, elegant and innovative with potential for significant impact. The idea of democratizing how communities organize after a disaster – and empowering communities with necessary tools is novel.” Other words used to describe the team were “brilliant,” “exciting” and “head-smacking-good.”
wecyclers — $7,500 — wecyclers plans to harness the power of urban communities to reclaim their environment from unmanaged waste
inSight — $7,500 — inSight is a mobile technology used to photograph the human eye retina, for early diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy to prevent global blindness.
Fula&Style — $7,500 — Fula&Style plans to manufacture and sell business apparel in West Africa by adapting and improving speed, quality and design issues with the current dominant consumer-tailor model.
Otto Clave — $7,500 — Otto Clave is used to track autoclaves in the field using SMS for a large scale field trial.
OpenIR — OpenIR is a web application offering geo-located infrared data as on-demand map layers, and translating the data so that anyone can read it easily.
The Beth Project — $5,000 — A prosthetic socket that offers a custom fit without custom fabrication; providing adjust-ability for comfort and fitting, ultimately resulting in lower prosthetic care costs.
Takachar — $5,000 — In Kenya, urban waste management and the security of cooking fuel supply are two large problems. Takachar plans to address both by turning household organic waste into charcoal.
Wi-care — $5,000 — Standing for “worldwide innovative healthcare,” Wi-care develops high-impact, cost-effective medical devices that are applicable worldwide.
Community Choice Winners
Samanvai Green Products — $1,500 — Samanvai Green Products aims to provide sustainable, competitive and rewarding employment to uneducated and educated people with multiple disabilities in Andhra Pradesh, India by manufacturing green products like paper cups.
Indian Raga — $1,500 — Indian Raga is democratizing Indian music through technology.
SMART Coops — $1,500 — SMART Coops is designed to be the sustainable management of agricultural resources and trade for farmers in the Philippines.