Tue, 06 Dec 2022



New Delhi [India], September 27 (ANI/ATK): The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)'s MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash project, led by Jhpiego, and implemented by Villgro Innovations Foundation, a leading social enterprise incubator in India, has announced the first cohort of social enterprises selected for the Yash Entrepreneurs Program (YEP). Anchored by USAID, YEP is a multi-donor project - designed to contribute to the achievement of India's family planning goals.

Launched in April 2022, the Yash Entrepreneurs Program will support 20 enterprises across India, over a 36-month period, to invest in solutions to revolutionize how youth and adolescents access quality family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) services.

As a part of Cohort 1 of YEP, eight onboarded social enterprises, will each receive a funding of up to Indian Rupees (INR) 10 Lakhs (approximately USD 13,200), as well as technical assistance, mentoring, and incubation support from Villgro. The support will also include skill building on the designing, prototyping and manufacturing of FP/SRH-focused products and services, digital marketing, go-to-market strategies, commercial pilots, financial dashboards, legal compliance, organizational culture, and leadership capability. Over the next nine months, these enterprises will focus on harnessing the network and resources of Villgro and Jhpiego to scale their businesses and attract follow-on funding from investors and corporations.

The 8 winners include:

1. Curapy Health Private Limited: This enterprise's Uvi Health platform is a virtual care platform for women's reproductive, hormonal and sexual concerns offering affordable care plans and diagnostics for SRH. Uvi Health targets breaking the conventional prescription-driven care and strives in providing holistic solutions as well.

2. Kamacore Media Private Limited: GetIntimacy, the flagship product of this women-led enterprise, aims to normalize sexual wellness by offering a setting for communal learning through non-therapeutic counseling, workshops, free content, and paid courses that assist community members in resolving their sexual issues.

3. StandWeSpeak: StandWeSpeak, also a women-led enterprise, strives to provide a change in the arena of the sexual and reproductive health sector through 4 main pillars: reliable information, teleconsultation, product suggestions, and resource material.

4. Green Delight Innovations Private Limited: The enterprise's flagship brand, Bliss, aims to end the excessive use of plastic-manufactured women-focused hygiene products including sanitary pads with a focus on environmental safety and feminine hygiene and health.

5. Padcare Labs Private Limited: Padcare Labs has developed the world's first Menstrual Hygiene as a Service (MHAAS) business model and ensures the availability of pads in office spaces with a special focus on recycling the same in the most hygienic way.

6. Pinky Promise Private Limited: This enterprise plans to eliminate cost, quality, and social barriers to sexual and reproductive health through technology, via a mobile app that provides an instant symptom assessment, doctor's consultation, testing, and community support chat rooms.

7. Shivtensity Private Limited: Shivtensity is a service-based platform that promotes safe-inclusive spaces for dialogues on Mental Health, Disability, and Sexuality.

8. Thinkpods Education Services Private Limited: That Mate, the flagship product of this startup, is focused on assisting young boys and girls as they navigate puberty. The app personifies itself as a friend or an advice-giver catering its content to the problems of the individual in the form of game therapy of self-healing (journaling, affirmations, etc.).

Congratulating the winners, Sangita Patel, Director of the USAID Health Office at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, shared, "As the world's largest family planning bilateral donor, USAID is committed to helping countries meet the family planning and reproductive health needs of their people. We are happy to support the Yash Entrepreneurs Program, which is providing necessary resources and services to enterprises and innovations-based businesses to ensure that youth voices and aspirations are heard, including those from marginalized communities who face greater challenges in accessing equitable family planning and reproductive health care services."

Dr Sapna Poti, Director, Strategic Alliances Division in the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India said, "Office of the PSA is driving innovation towards solving socio-economic challenges for sustainable growth and providing an enabling ecosystem for enterprises, specifically in the healthcare space. Yash Entrepreneurs Program is exactly the kind of platform the sector needs. Focusing on sexual and reproductive health, the selected enterprises will provide an effective solution framework and will be a start to more such platforms. It is an ardent initiative by USAID towards strengthening the innovation ecosystem in the country and we are delighted by the response of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to this initiative."

Sharing Jhpiego India's mission to build responsive and resilient health systems and self-reliant communities, created on the foundational values of partnerships, positive disruption, and local capacity, Dr. Somesh Kumar, Country Director, Jhpiego India, highlighted the importance of innovations in the healthcare space for India to be self-reliant. "The eight shortlisted enterprises will create a ripple effect in the social entrepreneurs' environment with innovations in the area of family planning and reproductive health. Each one is endeavoring exemplary work, and there is a huge potential to identify opportunities and build healthcare solutions for those who need it the most," he added.

Srinivas Ramanujam, CEO, Villgro Innovations Foundation added, "Considering the nature of the products/services and the maturity of the business models of these enterprises, there is enough reason to believe that FP/SRH will soon become an investable sector and the Yash Entrepreneurs Program will play a valuable role to bring together investors and donors to support enterprises that show promise of creating sustainable health impacts".

Notably, the Yash Entreprenurs Program is designed to identify, nurture, and scale enterprises working on various relevant sectoral themes including menstrual hygiene, contraception, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and mental health, SRH and climate change, and cross-cutting levers for SRH including market access, social and behavior change, and demand generation.

USAID is the U.S. Government's premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID works to help lift lives, build communities, and advance democracy. USAID's work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity; demonstrates American generosity; and helps countries progress along their development journey. In India, USAID is collaborating with the country's growing human and financial resources through partnerships that catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship to solve critical local and global development challenges. To learn more, visit www.usaid.gov/india

The United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) MOMENTUM suite of awards works with governments, civil and private sectors, and other key partners to improve access to family planning and reproductive health services and make high-quality health care available to mothers and children so they can live healthy, productive lives. The MOMENTUM design builds on five decades of USAID programming and represents the agency's most ambitious investment. This integrated design leverages USAID's maternal, child health, and family planning programs to create more impactful and sustainable change.

MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership is part of the MOMENTUM suite of innovative awards and works in tandem with country governments and local nongovernmental organizations to provide targeted technical and capacity development assistance (TCDA) and contribute to the global technical leadership and policy dialogue on improving measurable outcomes for MNCH/FP/RH care.

Jhpiego is a nonprofit global health leader and Johns Hopkins University affiliate that saves lives, improves health, and transforms futures. It is partnering with governments, health experts, the private sector, and local communities to revolutionize health care for the world's most disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Jhpiego began working in India in the 1980s, collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the Government of India (GoI), to strengthen reproductive health services. In 1992, Jhpiego was named a key partner in a five-year project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to strengthen reproductive health services in the largest state in India - Uttar Pradesh. Since 2006, Jhpiego has worked closely with the MoHFW, GoI to improve access to high-quality reproductive health, FP, and maternal and newborn health care services. Quality has been and continues to remain the cornerstone of every Jhpiego program.

Villgro is India's foremost and one of the world's largest social enterprise incubators. Established in 2001, Villgro's mission is to make innovative, impactful businesses succeed in Health, Agribusiness, and Climate Action. Since 2001, Villgro has supported 340 social enterprises that have raised over Rs 4.28 billion in investments, created 5646 jobs and impacted over 20.8 million lives. Villgro was awarded the Top Incubator Award by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (GoI) in 2020 and the DivHERsity awards in 2022.

This story has been provided by ATK. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content in this article. (ANI/ATK)

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