Winners of UN Women’s and MyGov’s COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge announced


Winners of UN Women’s and MyGov’s COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge

New Delhi, India — While India was preparing against COVID-19 crisis, which had knocked its door, MyGov and UN Women prepared to engage the women entrepreneurs and women-led startups as also solutions by entrepreneurs impacting women in this fight. MyGov in collaboration with UN Women, under its EU funded WeEmpowerAsia Programme launched the COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge on 13/04/2020.

This was a unique contest that invited applications from women individuals and start ups as well as those addressing issues faced by a larger number of women due to COVID- 19.

The Challenge was implemented in two stages: Ideation stage and Proof of Concept (PoC) Stage.

The challenge received an overwhelming response with a total of 1265 entries received at the ideation stage from across the nation.

Top 3 winners are as follows

Dr P Gayatri Hela, Resada Lifesciences Private Limited:
Gayatri is the Managing Director of Reseda Lifesciences—a company that focuses on creating home and agricultural-based products using plant extracts instead of synthetic chemicals. Her logic is that germs and other bacteria/viruses can become resistant to chemicals over time, but that nature always has a way of fighting back against these organisms. Uniquely, Gayatri’s solution of a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer isn’t just relevant to COVID- 19. The idea came to her in 2003, when she found herself right in the middle of the SARS pandemic with her one-year old daughter. She decided to contribute her innovation to this challenge after signing up for it from the MyGov website.

Romita Ghosh, iHeal HealthTech Private Limited:
Romita is the CEO of iHeal HealthTech—a healthcare start-up. Her personal experience with the Indian healthcare system inspired her to become an innovator. As a child, Romita was diagnosed with blood cancer and was only able to recover because her parents could afford the treatment. As the CEO of the healthcare start-up, she was at the forefront of the COVID crisis. Her company was against hoarding of essential items right from the beginning and soon she started rationing and supplying PPE kits to hospitals that started running out. Romita felt that the pandemic was an opportunity to help people realize that healthcare was a basic need, and therefore decided to create an UV sterilization box for safe reuse of PPEs and masks. Her RoAR UVC Sterilizer is a ‘Made in India’ UV-C Sterilizer for Safe Re-use of PPEs and would be cost-beneficial for a lot of sectors where PPE is going to be new normal.

Dr Anjana Ramkumar and Dr Anusha Ashokan, Thanmatra Innovations Private Limited:
Anjana is the product development manager and Anusha is the co-founder and director of Thanmatra Innovations. When COVID struck India, both of them were always wary of being infected as they were both healthcare professionals and had to work with multiple patients every day. Anjana said that her and Anusha also noticed that while the government had made masks mandatory, most of them were disposable and couldn’t be afforded by everyone. Therefore, after signing up for the Shri Shakti challenge via MyGov, they came up with an anti-microbial solution that could be sprayed into handkerchiefs or dupattas for convenience. This also made it easier to protect kids. Their innovation is revolutionary and scalable to remote areas, as it can convert any piece of cloth to anti-viral mask within minutes by a simple process of spraying and drying with their unique formulation.

Read more about their innovative ideas: