Nine Finalists Selected for Innovation into Action Challenge

May 13, 2016

Nine organizations have been chosen as finalists for the DAI Innovation into Action Challenge, a global competition designed to find and support products and services that will help people in developing nations tackle social and economic development problems. Finalists will come to the Washington, D.C. area during the week of May 23 to compete for three Challenge prizes, each offering $20,000 in seed funding, an opportunity to field-test their product or service, and a tailored package of coaching and technical assistance.

A total of 296 applications were received. “Twenty DAI technical staff worked on the judging process, and given the quality of submissions they had a difficult time narrowing the field,” said Challenge lead Doug McLean.

During their week in the D.C. area, finalists will attend workshops on innovation in international development, meet with officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donor agencies, and receive one-on-one coaching from DAI mentors. The week will conclude with final presentations, judging, and an awards ceremony on May 26, at the Red Brick Courthouse in Rockville, Maryland. Three winners will be chosen based on their innovation’s readiness for use, effectiveness and impact, sustainability, scalability, and manageability in the field.

Here are the Innovation into Action Challenge finalists:

  • Mavuno Harvest works with base-of-the-pyramid farmers and cooperatives in sub-Saharan Africa to process dried fruits for sale in U.S. grocery stores, providing new markets for harvests, creating jobs, and increasing incomes.
  • East Banc Technologies’ smartphone-based app allows public transit organizations to easily collect data and track their fleets, thereby improving reliability and maintenance.
  • Laboratoria’s education and career development program provides women with data management and coding skills.
  • Speak Agent’s interactive language teaching app enables learners from low-literacy backgrounds to express language using symbolic representation.
  • PeerAspect offers a software platform called Sheets that uses collaborative surveys to help organizations more efficiently collect, share, and validate data, particularly for supply chain management and compliance reporting.
  • Trek Medics, creators of Beacon, an SMS-based emergency medical dispatching system designed specifically for communities where consistent ambulance response is not available.
  • Solar Sister generates economic opportunities through a woman-centered direct sales network that provides clean tech energy products to rural communities in Africa.
  • THINKmd, creators of MEDSINC, an integrated point-of-care clinical assessment tool that enables community health workers to gather patient information, assess the severity of illness, and provide approved treatments.
  • ClickMedix uses mobile phones to enable healthworkers to screen for health concerns via customizable triage algorithms and tele-consult with physicians to determine treatment plans and empower frontline healthworkers.

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

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