The Center for Emerging Markets (CEM) was thrilled to participate in India's dynamic startup scene by supporting SmartIDEAthon 2023, one of the country's largest social innovation pitchfests. This event, held at GITAM Deemed University in Hyderabad on August 24-25, 2023, showcased the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of India's brightest minds.

SmartIDEAthon 2023 received an overwhelming response, with over 1,000 submissions pouring in from every corner of India. These submissions focused on four diverse categories, including Food and Health, Toys for STEM, Sustainable Fashion, and Frugal Innovation. 32 top teams emerged as finalists to compete in the grand finale.

SmartIDEAthon 2023's champion, Anup Paikarey from Odisha University of Technology and Research, was recognized for his innovative startup, Newrup Tech Solutions, which develops affordable heat-powered air blowers to harness excess heat generated by indoor biomass stoves and reduce indoor air pollution.

The runners-up, Vineet Kumar and Manish Bibhu from Sershah Engineering College, were recognized for their project, POLYFUELER, which aims to revolutionize waste management by transforming diverse plastic waste into fuel, all powered by a proprietary catalyst.

K Ushasri Devi and P Sushma Devi from GITAM School of Business were awarded the Best Woman-led Entrepreneurship Idea prize for their venture, COACT, which strives to address the menstrual cycle-tracking challenges faced by visually challenged individuals, empowering them to meet their essential needs independently.

V. Mahesh, K J Reddy, and G. Naveen, and Md. A. Mahboob of the Institute of Aeronautical Engineering won the Social Impact Business Idea prize for their venture, AGRODROID, which produces an autonomous rover robot capable of ploughing, sowing seeds, weeding fields, fertilizing crops using precision spraying and solid fertilization, and harvesting cotton.

The winners of SmartIDEAthon 2023 will have the unique opportunity to travel to Boston for two weeks to immerse themselves in the city's vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem and participate in Northeastern University's Entrepreneurship Week. Additionally, they will receive valuable venture development coaching from Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education.

Notably, the Best Women-led Team and Best Social Impact winners will also enjoy a fully sponsored two-week trip to Boston and receive one-on-one coaching from Northeastern's Venture Development Program, made possible by a generous gift from Vivek and Vandana Sharma to CEM.

SmartIDEAthon 2023 was organized by GITAM University's Venture Development Centre and Entrepreneurs Club (E-club), Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education (NUCEE), Northeastern University's Center for Emerging Markets, Invest India, and Startup India.

The Center for Emerging Markets extends its heartfelt congratulations to all the participants and winners of SmartIDEAthon 2023, celebrating their innovative ideas. We look forward to continuing our support for India's thriving startup ecosystem and fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.