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USAID announces the winners of cohort II of the yash entrepreneurs program

Bhubaneswar : The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash project, led by Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins Affiliate together with Villgro, a leading social enterprise incubator, has announced the selection of its second cohort of social enterprises selected for the Yash Entrepreneurs Program. Launched in April 2022, the Yash Entrepreneurs Program supports enterprises across India to invest in solutions to revolutionize how youth and adolescents access quality family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) services. The initial cohort of entrepreneurs was announced in August 2022, selecting seven social enterprises that have developed innovative products and services focused on solving problems relevant to menstrual hygiene (PadcareLabs, Green Delight Innovations), sexual and reproductive health (UVi Health, Pinky Promise, Get Intimacy and Stand We Speak) and mental wellness (That Mate).The 11 enterprises announced today account for the second cohort of the program, which will enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem for family planning and reproductive health in India, with scalable solutions .

In reference to the cohort II announcement, Dr. SapnaPoti, Director Strategic Alliances Division, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, stated, “The Office of the PSA is championing innovation to address socio-economic challenges, particularly in healthcare. The Yash Entrepreneurs Program is the ideal platform for this sector, focusing on sexual and reproductive health. These enterprises will set a strong foundation for more similar initiatives, reflecting USAID’s dedicated effort to bolster the country’s innovation ecosystem, and we wholeheartedly support it.”

“USAID is committed to partnering with the Indian government and private sector to find innovative solutions to meet India’s family planning and reproductive health goals. The Yash Entrepreneurs Program is an excellent example of the U.S. government supporting locally-led solutions in India, empowering young people to take a leadership role in their own health and that of their peers. The health interventions supported in this cohort will build on our efforts to positively impact sexual and reproductive health for the youth in India”, said USAID/India Health Office Director Michelle Lang-Alli.

“Launching cohort II for the Yash Entrepreneurs Program marks another exciting chapter in our journey of transforming sexual and reproductive health solutions focusing on women and young people’s health. We are dedicated to fostering innovation and excellence through our programs, and these cohorts represent the future of SRH entrepreneurship in our country”, highlighted Dr. Somesh Kumar, Country Director, Jhpiego India.

Under Cohort II, each of these 11 enterprises will receive technical assistance and support of up to INR 10 Lac to develop content around SRH/FP, conduct pilots, and validate products/services through community trials. The cohort will also get access to mentoring and advisory services around product development and testing, marketing, customer acquisition, intellectual property, and regulatory matters, as well as fundraising.

On the commencement of cohort II, Dr. AbhijeetPathak, Chief of Party, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash, and Country Lead – Family Planning, Youth & Gender, Jhpiegostated,“We are confident that the businesses nurtured through this program will establish proof of viable and enduring business models in the field of sexual and reproductive health/family planning and become an exemplar of how private markets can help solve public problems. They will also showcase the attractiveness of this sector to both investors and donors. The innovative marketplace formed by these endeavors will serve as a crucial means to make affordable sexual and reproductive health/family planning solutions accessible to the broader Indian adolescent population.”

Srinivas Ramanujam, CEO, Villgro Innovations Foundation, added, “With the additional 11 enterprises onboarded under Cohort-2, we believe this pool will greatly shape the market ecosystem for SRH/FP innovations built by these enterprises. The 18 innovations onboarded in this program will also help us demonstrate leverage for the support provided by USAID’s MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash and enable us to build the Yash Collaborative Platform, which aims to raise USD 10 Million to promote more innovations with a focus on women and young people’s health.”

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