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Marico Innovation Foundation launches #Innovate2BeatCOVID

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The programme calls out MedTech entrepreneurs, corporates, innovators from across the nation to meaningfully contribute towards mitigating risk of outbreak

In response to the growing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic that has engulfed the world and now threatens the Indian healthcare system and economy alike, the Marico Innovation Foundation launched #Innovate2BeatCOVID recently.

With this dynamic format, Marico Innovation Foundation and ATE Chandra Foundation and Harsh Mariwala, Founder, Marico Innovation Foundation & Chairman, Marico in his personal capacity have come together to offer a total grant value of Rs 25 crore. The programme calls out MedTech entrepreneurs, corporates and innovators from across the nation to meaningfully contribute towards mitigating the risk of the outbreak. 

The purpose of the grand challenge is to combat short-supply of ventilators, personal protective equipment and other respiratory solutions that can aid the medical fraternity. They are looking for existing innovative solutions that can be modified and scaled immediately. As the pandemic progresses, the grand challenge may expand to other items of critical need in consultation with medical experts. 

Speaking on the initiative, Mariwala said “ The effects of the pandemic are drastic on an already stressed world economy and the overstretched Indian healthcare system. The medical community’s contribution and our government’s efforts have been commendable thus far but they need more hands-on deck. The time is right for us to step in and play a catalytic role by enabling India’s best innovative minds to contribute meaningfully towards easing the healthcare community pressure and help save lives. The need of the hour is to create an opportunity for collaboration and build an ecosystem led support so that innovators are not bound by challenges of access or ability to scale.” He went on to add, “Marico Innovation Foundation has always been at the forefront of enabling innovation, so it’s only natural that we would like to extend our experience and expertise and equity to innovators who can contribute to beat Covid-19! In the same breath, I urge all of you to join us in our endeavour by extending support in the best of your capacity.” 

Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, Governing Council Chairperson, Marico Innovation Foundation, is confident that this unique and timely initiative will help bring enormous value, adding “COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis. We must create and deploy breakthrough technologies on a war footing and on a huge scale. We at Marico Innovation Foundation have fuelled purposeful innovations in all walks of life in India for close to two decades now. But this pandemic requires specific solutions here and now. There will be a demand for a number of interventions, but we are focussing on two critical items for which there will be burgeoning demand, namely, ventilators and personal protection equipment.” He continued, “Through this grand challenge initiative, we are igniting the creative instinct of Indian innovators, who, we are confident, will rise to the challenge of providing novel solutions, which will be affordable, simple, safe, scalable and sustainable.”

Amit Chandra, Vice-Chairperson, Marico Innovation Foundation, and Chairman Bain Capital’s India office says, “Our large and high-density population, combined with a fragile healthcare system has potential to create massive stress however well prepared we might be. This initiative will aim to contribute towards distressing critical healthcare needs in terms of medical equipment and protective gear for our frontline healthcare workers.” He added, “Such innovations could be invaluable both in fighting COVID and also bringing affordable healthcare to India over longer-term.”

While the window for innovations is open for 30 days starting from March 29, 2020, we would highly encourage early responses, given the urgency in saving lives and give appropriate weightages while giving awards. The start-ups and entities that are ‘launch-ready’ will be shortlisted by the eminent jury members chaired by Dr RA Mashelkar. MIF will be supporting them over the immediate and longer-term. 

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