Southeast Asian startups at the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge | Digital Asia


India and Bangladesh will represent at the Inclusive Innovation Challenge, but Southeast Asia has a significant presence in the competition


Four Indian and Bangladeshi startups have been named as the winners of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) Asia Regional Celebration at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok last week: iMerit, ftcash, Plastics for Change, and SOLShare.

The startups are set to represent Asia in the MIT IIC Global Grand Prize Gala at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on November 8, competing for a US$1 million cash prize.

The winners were chosen out of 12 finalists, shortlisted from over 165 applicants across 25 countries in Asia.

Though the winners were dominated by startups from South Asia, the Southeast region was represented by five startups in the finalist roster.

The following is their short profile.

ClicknCare (Simple Motion Sdn Bhd) – Malaysia
Simple Motion Sdn Bhd develops a tele-health mobile platform ClicknCare to help migrant workers connect to native doctors, with the hope that they can consult with less language and distance barriers. It was founded in 2014 by Abu Hasnat Sultanur Reza, and currently connects migrant workers with Bangla-speaking medical professionals in Malaysia.

Connected Women – the Philippines
Connected Women offers a platform for global female enterpreneurs to connect with Filipino women looking for remote work in admin work, customer service, marketing, or editorial services. It aims to help women entrepreneurs grow successful businesses and solve the massive unemployment issue faced by women in the Philippines.

Also Read: 4 Singaporean entrepreneurs share their experiences from inside a coding bootcamp

Gnowbe – Singapore
Gnowbe is a mobile platform that aims to improve employability by partnering with accredited training bodies, such as corporate and academic partners, to provide educational content. It provides mobile-based customised training solutions for corporations.

Ricult – Thailand
Ricult aims to improve productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Its platform offers various services such as online marketplace, credit access, as well as data insights and analytics. The startup has operations in Pakistan, Thailand, and the US.

STORM – the Philippines
STORM aims to enhance employee lives by enabling them to choose “much more relevant” benefits through a comprehensive benefits marketplace. Their products consist of STORM Flex (online benefits administration system that allows employees to convert benefits to points to use in a marketplace) and STORM Ace (a rewards and recognition platform to increase employees’ motivation through leaderboards and competition, real-time social recognition, and points-based rewards).

Also Read: Meet the Southeast Asian startups that have just received the DBS Foundation grants

The MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge is the flagship programme of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.

It aims to identify and promote organisations that pioneer “innovative and groundbreaking” tech solutions to “reinvent the future of work.”


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