Social Alpha and Tata Trusts launch programme to solve challenges for cities
Quest for Urban Livability is for innovators and entrepreneurs; funding up to Rs 1 crore on offer
Social Alpha, in partnership with the Tata Trusts, has announced the launch of the Quest for Urban Livability, a first-of-its-kind nationwide scouting programme for innovators and entrepreneurs who are working to solve complex problems of urbanisation through deep-science and tech innovation. Ajoy Mehta, Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Maharashtra; Praveen Pardeshi, Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister, Government of Maharashtra; Annie Dubè, Consul General of Canada in India; and Municipal Commissioners of other corporations in Maharashtra were present at the launch.
“We believe that science and technology-based innovations have the potential to solve complex social, economic and environment challenges in a sustainable and scalable manner."
The goal is to identify innovative enterprises that are looking to deploy their solutions across six high-priority areas viz. waste, water and sanitation, environment and pollution, traffic and mobility, sustainable habitat and municipal systems.
The programme will support entrepreneurs with technology innovations that can solve problems of urbanisation and cities in a scalable and sustainable manner. The programme is looking for entrepreneurs/start-ups that have:
• Innovations that can improve city level outcomes and enable higher quality of life in urban India
• Solutions that are replicable and can be scaled in other cities, communities and geographies in India
• Innovations that are at the prototype stage and above, and can be readily piloted in an urban use-case
Selected candidates will receive comprehensive incubation support from Social Alpha, which will include seed capital support of up to Rs 1 crore, opportunities to carry out pilots with urban local bodies, state governments and other implementation agencies for a period of 6-18 months, hands-on business planning and go-to market strategy support, access to a curated set of knowledge offerings, mentorship opportunities and access to a diverse and larger investor ecosystem.
Speaking at the launch, Manoj Kumar, head of institutions, entrepreneurship and innovation, Tata Trusts, and CEO, Social Alpha, said, “We believe that science and technology-based innovations have the potential to solve complex social, economic and environment challenges in a sustainable and scalable manner. The Social Alpha Quest for Urban Livability is an attempt to tackle growing issues of Indian cities in high-priority areas by unleashing the power of entrepreneurship and deep science and tech innovations. The Quest will support promising start-ups with the potential to transform and enhance the quality of life of urban citizens, and support government and local administrations with effective tools in better planning and delivery.”
Mehta said, “The most important thing for a city is the quality of life it offers, followed by jobs and housing. One of the key challenges that Mumbai faces is the lack of open spaces, and our focus is on creating more of the same, along with better hospitals and schools. Currently, we aim to build a strong transport network and, hence, we are building metros and creating a support for the railways by building a coastal highway so that Mumbai becomes more accessible to people.”
Pardeshi said, “Maharashtra is the engine of India’s growth, and our Chief Minister has been working very seriously on pushing us from a $ 400 billion economy to a $ 1 trillion economy in the next five years. The most critical aspect for a city is its planning, and the ability to combine private and public investments towards public transport and other public-related services.”
The programme was launched at the Symposium on Transforming Urban Livability, organised by the Tata Trusts and University of Toronto in Mumbai. The Symposium brought together stakeholders from the government, academia, entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem to have a discussion on the core challenges of urbanisation and cities.
The Social Alpha Quest for Urban Livability is open for applications starting March 6, 2019, and will be accepting applications till April 21, 2019.