For detecting neurological emergencies swiftly, a low-cost, brain-scanning device, a biochip integrated with smart phone for DNA-based test malaria test, a point-of-care microscope that detects infection using artificial intelligence (AI) are some of the top 20 ventures selected in the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC) 2016-2017.
Of the over 400 applications for the latest edition of TSEC, the maximum (20 percent) are from the healthcare sector. This is followed by (at 18 percent) participants from the agriculture, food, dairy segment and the education vertical.
For example, Kolkata-based Arogya Meditech Pvt. Ltd, has developed a product called CEREBROS, a low-cost, portable, radiation-free brain scanning device that detects brain injuries, strokes and other neurological emergencies. It comes in the form of a wearable head-gear and combines two technologies-Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Electroencephalography.
Satya Tapas of Scidogma Research, Bengaluru, has designed an automated, POC, AI-enabled microscope that can diagnose malaria in remote areas.
TSEC is a joint initiative by the TATA group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM Calcutta), a national level challenge to find India's most promising social enterprises.
According to C.D. Mitra, advisor to the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IIM Calcutta, in about five years there has been a 100 percent increase in the number of participants in the challenge.
"The maximum number of applications for the 2017 edition is from the southern part of India (35 percent). At the IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, between 30 to 40 percent applications are from social enterprises," Mitra said.
However, Ashok Banerjee of the institute said, if these social enterprises have to scale up and be among the big players they have to go for mainstream funding.