Innovation into Action Challenge Winners Chosen

May 27, 2016

Last night, DAI and its partners announced four winners of the Innovation into Action Challenge, a competition designed to find and support products and services that will help people in developing nations tackle social and economic development problems. Each organization will receive $20,000 in seed funding, an opportunity to field-test their product or service on a DAI project, and a tailored package of coaching and technical assistance.

The four winners were:

  • Laboratoria, an education and career development program that equips women from low-income backgrounds with data management and coding skills.

  • Solar Sister, an enterprise that generates economic opportunities for women in rural Africa through a network selling renewable energy products.

  • THINKmd, creators of MEDSINC, a mobile application that guides community health workers in assessing and treating patients in remote areas without access to a physician.

  • ClickMedix, developers of a mobile health platform that allows health workers to screen for health concerns and tele-consult with doctors to determine treatment plans.

“We are truly honored to have been chosen as a winner in the Innovation into Action Challenge and excited to begin working with DAI to expand the reach of MEDSINC in the field,” said Dr. Barry Finette, founder and CEO of THINKmd. “This week alone has been incredibly informative for us, learning how major donor organizations work, seeing how we can best scale our projects, and networking with the other finalists.”

After the Innovation into Action Challenge was announced in January, a total of 296 applications were submitted from 49 countries. Nine finalists travelled to Maryland for a week of mentoring from DAI technical experts, workshops on innovation and global development, and meetings with officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The week concluded with the nine finalists presenting their innovations to a panel of judges at the historic Montgomery County Red Brick Courthouse in Rockville, Maryland. Judges selected winners based on the innovation’s readiness for use, effectiveness and impact, sustainability, scalability, and manageability in the field.

“We look forward to using our global platform to help these innovative ideas grow into successful enterprises that can have a genuine impact on development outcomes around the world,” said DAI President and CEO Jim Boomgard.

Next for the winning organizations are site visits to DAI projects and planning for testing their innovations in the field.

DAI’s partners in the Innovation into Action Challenge are USAID, Montgomery County, Maryland, and the Global Accelerator Network.

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DAI has developed considerable expertise in the disciplines required to source and nurture good ideas and support the entrepreneurs and innovators who come up with them so they can bring their innovations to market. We are currently drawing on this body of experience in the Innovation into Action Challenge, for example, a contest that awards prizes, field visits, and tailored mentoring and partnering opportunities for initiatives with the potential to make a difference in developing and transitioning nations.

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