Big impact: beyond checkbook philanthropy


The solution guarantees optimal levels of hygiene in the association’s kitchens.

By Srinath Srinivasan

GLOBAL TECH CORPORATIONS such as Accenture, Microsoft India and IBM give some of India’s top startups a head start in sustainability and social impact. Supported by Accenture and Micro-soft India, Project Amplify supported 10 Indian startups with the aim of delivering scalable solutions using technologies such as IoT, AI that would result in monitoring systems and the creation of management executives. advice.

“We assess startups based on their solutions, associated sustainability goals, impact, level of technology and roadmap for the next 6 to 12 months. The selected startups are then integrated ”, explains Lathika Pai, Country Manager, Venture Capital and Private Equity Partnerships, Microsoft India.

Jaljeevika, one of the startups in the program, has created an end-to-end IoT-based aquaculture consulting framework on Microsoft Azure that is expected to reduce capital expenditure for small-scale fish farmers. “The development objective is to improve the resilience of rural households and promote cluster models led by micro-entrepreneurs through inland fisheries production systems and value chain integration”, explains Neelkanth Mishra, Founder and CEO of the Center for Aquatic Livelihoods, Jaljeevika.

In another case, startups Syook and Wobot collaborated on a health and safety monitoring system for Akshaya Patra, which runs the world’s largest school lunch program. The solution framework, developed by Microsoft and Accenture, includes offerings from both startups and helps build a resilient supply chain while caring for frontline workers in the kitchen. The solution guarantees optimal levels of hygiene in the association’s kitchens.

Accenture and Microsoft provide startups with access to technology, design expertise, technical advice, mentoring, access to MS Research assets where possible, and connecting startups with other startups and stakeholders. the ecosystem with which they could potentially collaborate. “This program is really about ensuring that social impact and sustainability startups get the tech and visibility support to help them accelerate the work they do. Our investments come in the form of deep technology and business dives, network access, Azure credits and market access, ”Pai said.

On technical challenges, SaafWater and WaterMon won the call for code challenges at global and regional levels. Their solutions focus on improving water quality and localizing water management through the use of sensors, data and analytics. SaafWater is built on an open source framework. “Thanks to the tech community and our team, the challenges in the design of the hardware, especially the isolation of the power supply and the integration of certain technologies during the software development, could be overcome,” said Hrishikesh. Bhandari, project manager, Saaf Water. SaafWater’s solution will show water quality data that can be viewed and understood by anyone, including those without access to smartphones or the internet.

WaterMon intends to use a crowdsourcing method and involve the active participation of local communities. “The intention is to overcome obstacles to the effective use of water test kits. The project is based on a common low-power microcontroller architecture, a sensor-based implementation with cloud connectivity for analysis and generation of actionable information, ”says Aaditya Voruganti, Project Manager, WaterMon.

Each winning team receives support from IBM’s Call for Code team, Call for Code ecosystem partners and IBM Service Corps to incubate their technology, make their code open source accessible to everyone and deploy their solution. on the ground in communities around the world. world.

Each of the top five teams that won the 2021 Global Code Challenge call received a cash prize and support from IBM and the Linux Foundation. Saaf Water will receive $ 200,000 and support to incubate, test and deploy its solution from IBM Service Corps and expert partners in the Call for Code ecosystem. He will also receive help from the Linux Foundation to open his application.

WaterMon has been honored as a regional winner from India and will receive $ 5,000. “IBM does not impose limits on the intellectual property of the best solutions and does not take any equity participation. It’s not checkbook philanthropy, ”says Ruth Davis, director of Call for Code.

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