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Financial Times and Seedstars Announce Six Global Winners of FTxSDG Challenge’s Potential $500k Funding

Financial Times and Seedstars announce this year’s six global winners of the FTxSDG Challenge: Anthem, India (Quality Education); Duhqa, Kenya (Reduced Inequalities); Medl, Trinidad and Tobago (Good Health & Wellbeing); Pinky Promise, India (Gender Equality); Trii, Columbia (Good Jobs & Economic Growth); and SafEarth Clean Technologies, India (Climate Action). The winners will be accelerated to the Seedstars International Fund where they’ll have the chance to secure up to $500K in funding. 

In a partnership with Seedstars, the Swiss-based private group with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets, and Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organizations, the FTxSDG Challenge was created to empower promising, impact-driven startups and entrepreneurs with learning and funding opportunities. The competition was also made possible with the School of Management Fribourg.

The focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to bring awareness to global problems, while also empowering entrepreneurs who are creating solutions that can address these issues. 

Financial Times and Seedstars Announce Six Global Winners of FTxSDG Challenge’s Potential $500k Funding
Behind the scenes in the Financial Times Studio

Since 2013, the Seedstars World Competition has grown to be the largest startup competition in emerging markets, but the pandemic has led to the online adaptation of the competition for the past two years. 

Opening the FTxSDG Challenge call for applications to all startups and innovative entrepreneurs around the globe, over 4,500 applications were received. Narrowing that down, the Seedstars and Financial Times team have selected 30 finalists to compete for the six global winners spots for each SDG.

From there, the startup finalists got to pitch their ideas to experts in their respective SDG categories. The results of the deliberations for this year’s global winners are the following:

Quality Education Winner

Anthem, India - Anthem is a simple, but very powerful SaaS tool built to keep the needs of mid-sized educational institutions in mind. It helps automate their four fundamental functions – fee collection, expense management, admissions, and communication.

Reduced Inequalities Winner

Duhqa, Kenya - For a small shop selling consumer products, they struggle to get a one-stop shop for their procurement needs, financing, and logistics. Duhqa is solving this problem and provides a tech solution that enables them to shop from manufacturers, get financing, and have all items delivered to their shop in under 6 hours.

Good Health & Wellbeing Winner

Medl, Trinidad and Tobago - There are millions of premature deaths by non-communicable diseases. Most premature deaths can be avoided by medications but 1 in 2 prescriptions are never filled: medication is confusing, time-consuming, inaccessible, and expensive. Medl's end-to-end prescription platform, to-your-door delivery, and continuing patient management scraps the traditional pharmacy model to transform the patient experience for the $75bn LatAm pharmaceutical market. 

Gender Equality Winner

Pinky Promise, India - Pinky Promise provides high-quality, automated reproductive healthcare to every woman in the world. Their gynecologist-verified chatbot walks a woman from her symptom, all the way to an answer for that symptom. Issue-specific chatrooms on our app help women connect with each other anonymously so they can ask follow-up questions and find support. 

Good Jobs & Economic Growth Winner

Trii, Columbia - Local brokers make it difficult for 99% of the population to access the stock market and small investors were banned from the game. Trii is a Colombian Fintech partnered with the Colombian Stock Exchange to develop the first trading app in the country. They can serve millions and make the local stock market accessible and empower small investors. 

Climate Action Winner

SafEarth Clean Technologies, India - Renewable energy is today the cheapest source of energy around the world, yet 9 out of 10 people don’t end up making this decision. As well as 67% of all distributed solar plants are not able to meet basic quality checks. From the end-user perspective, the transition to renewable energy is very complicated and prone to errors. Safearth helps in getting these users the right solar plants at the lowest possible price with zero errors.

Financial Times and Seedstars Announce Six Global Winners of FTxSDG Challenge’s Potential $500k Funding 1
Head of Business Development & FT Talent Director Virginia Stagni (left) and Seedstars Co-CEO Alisée de Tonnac (right) announce the winners of the FTxSDG Challenge

Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Seedstars Alisée de Tonnac shared, “We’ve been doing these competitions for years now but I am always in awe of the vision and impact that the startups are making. I’m proud to announce this year’s winners who are helping push forward progress in the different sustainable development goals.”

Financial Times Business Development Associate​​ Noor Hafez also expressed excitement for the winners, “We're so delighted with how well the FTxSDG challenge has gone! This first collaboration with Seedstars allowed us to reach so many people around the world and open up our challenge to startups for the first time ever. We were also able to focus our challenge on just emerging markets for the first time. We heard so many insightful and innovative ideas in the space of 5 days.”

The FTxSDG Challenge finale included public sessions “SDGs in emerging markets: can entrepreneurship be the solution?” with Seedstars Co-CEOs Alisée de Tonnac and Pierre-Alain Masson and Head of Business Development & FT Talent Director Virginia Stagni as well as the live session on “Race for Tomorrow: the global fight to respond to climate change” with Financial Times Moral Money Editor, Simon Mundy. 

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