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The Center for Emerging Markets (CEM) is proud to be part of India's buzzing startup scene by supporting and strengthening SmartIDEAthon—which may well be one of India's biggest social innovation pitchfests. 

SMartIDEAthon 2022 was organized by GITAM University's Venture Development Centre, Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education (NUCEE), Northeastern University's Center for Emerging Markets, and Startup India, the flagship national agency to promote entrepreneurship. CEM was able to add two additional prizes to this year's competition, i.e. an expense-paid trip for members of two winning teams to Boston to learn first-hand about the city's vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem, with trips to incubators, accelerators, VCs, and so on. This is made possible by a generous gift to CEM by Vivek and Vandana Sharma.

SmartIDEAthon 2022 received over 1,200 submissions, from all corners of India, and represented a 6-fold increase over 2021. Submissions addressed pressing problems in Healthcare, Food and Agriculture, Clean/Green Tech, Waste Management, and Water Management. The 32 best teams traveled to GITAM U for the final rounds on August 10-11, 2022. Judges for the final round was Professor Greg Collier, Director of International Programmes, NUCEE, Professor Ravi Ramamurti, Director, CEM, Dr Surabhi Gupta, Manager, Startup India, Sreedevi Devireddy, Vice President, Startup Ecosystem, Xelpmoc Design and Tech Ltd and Malini Parmar, Co-Founder, StoneSoup. Prof. Krish Nangegadda and his GITAM team did an outstanding job organizing the event.

Among the winning ideas were the following: “smart socks” that can detect diabetic ulcers early; a “smart glove” that can be used to translate sign language into text or speech and vice versa; and, from a team of women engineers, a versatile wheelchair optimized for COPD patients. 

Hats off to all the contestants!