After hosting PM Narendra Modi at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park last month, Mark Zuckerberg is headed to India again. Ahead of Mark Zuckerberg’s Delhi town hall, Facebook has now announced winners of the ‘Internet.org Innovation Challenge’ that was launched last year when Zuckerberg visited India. The objective of the challenge was to encourage developers to build locally relevant apps, services and websites in local languages.
Based on the submissions Facebook received, they have chosen 12 winners across four categories, students, women, farmers and migrants. In terms of rewards, one leading app, service or idea and website gets $250,000 (approximately Rs 1.62 crore) Innovation Challenge Award and two $25,000 (approximately Rs 16.25 lakh) Impact Award winners in each category. The challenge was judged byArun Bansal, SVP & Head of Radio, Ericsson; Chris Daniels, VP, Internet.org/Facebook; Ameet Suri, Partnerships Manager, Internet.org/Facebook and Raj Talluri, SVP of Product Management, Qualcomm.
Here’s the complete list of winners of Internet.org Innovation Challenge:
BodhaGuru (Innovation Challenge Award Winner): It focuses on developing creative thinking among children with the help of storytelling via videos, books and mobile based learning apps. The platform is designed to make learning interesting for children from KG to 8th grade.
Fundamentor (Impact Award Winner): This service is designed to help children from third to ninth grade to develop life verbal, reasoning, analytical and thinking skills via gamification.
LetsIntern (Impact Award Winner): After completing college or mid-way through graduation, a lot of students often look for internship to gain knowledge and experience. LetsIntern taps on to provide students with internship opportunities. It is an online portal that is designed to connect students with small and medium sized businesses.
mySangham (Innovation Challenge Award): A step towards women empowerment in 100 initially identified communities and villages, this online platform offers skill building and vocational training to women. The service also aims towards strengthening the social and economic stability of the country.
Embrace Angel (Impact Award Winner): It’s an app designed to help medical and healthcare professionals to offer extended support for neo-natal care, especially the tier 2/3 markets at a distant locations.
Rang de Habba (Impact Award Winner): It’s essentially an ecommerce portal that aims towards women empowerment. It offers local women artisans with a platform to showcase and sell their products. The main goal behind this portal is to increase value retention of local artisans and promote their hard work, rather than promoting commercial brands.
eKutir (Innovation Challenge Award Winner): In India, due to lack of knowledge, tools and resources, a lot of markers aren’t able to make the most of the farming lifecycle. This is where eKutir helps them with knowledge from crop selection to nurture and sales process. This service converts the fragmented system into a connected and collaborative distributed model, thus empowering farmers and communities.
Farmily (Impact Award Winner): More often than not, farmers aren’t able to make enough profits due to the involvement of middle-man. The Farmily portal helps farmers to reach new buyers and also negotiate better prices for their agricultural produce.
Farmalytics (Impact Award Winner): We’re in the 21st century, with dependence on automated technologies, yet, farming is still following the age old methods. The Farmalytics portal aims towards precision farming by providing farmers with robust analytics and state of the art sensor technologies, thus helping them to take data-driven decisions like other businesses.
Helper4U (Innovation Challenge Award Winner): It’s an online jobs database portal that is designed to match and present semi-skilled migrants in to potential employers. It is built to focus on creating transparency to help migrant workers to easy find jobs. The portal also cuts out on middleman who generally takes a huge sum of employee’s salary as a commission.
Mygram (Impact Award Winner): This is an SMS-based email service that aims towards helping migrants with a secure digital identity. It is specially designed for users who are new to internet. So, when someone wants to send them an email, it can be sent on ‘user’firstname.lastname@example.org,’ whereas the recipient receives an email as an SMS with the link to open that.
mHS City Labs (Impact Award Winner): It’s a tool on basic engineering workmanship that offers migrants with an online repository of technical tools and resources. It aims towards improving their skills by offering guidance on basic engineering through how-to tutorials.