Social ventures and innovators around the world invited to apply for the ASME ISHOW accelerator
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is currently accepting applications from social entrepreneurs focusing on hardware innovations for the 2023 ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW). The prestigious global hardware accelerator is open to individuals and organizations taking physical products to market that will have a positive social and/or environmental impact and that improve the quality of life around the world.
Applicants should have an existing prototype and interest in receiving financial/technical support and access to expert networks that can assist in taking their product to market. ASME ISHOW finalists receive product exposure, advice, and technical insights through ISHOW’s rigorous review methodology. Finalist will have a chance to earn a share of $200,000 in seed grants, in-kind support, design services, travel stipends, and marketing and business development assets.
Eight finalists are chosen for each of three regional events from hundreds of applications received each year. The deadline for applications is February 7 for entrepreneurs in India and the Asia Pacific region seeking consideration for ISHOW India.
Finalists for ISHOW India will be invited to present their pitches as part of ASME India Innovation Week, a weeklong program of events for engineering educators, students, and entrepreneurs April 1-4 in Bengaluru.
“We are proud to offer a forum for engineering problem-solving that truly improves lives,” said ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “We are continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME ISHOW participants and their passion for helping underserved communities around the world. We look forward to engaging in person with the vibrant engineering community within India when we return to Bengaluru this spring.”
The application deadline is April 14 for innovators in the Middle East and Africa seeking consideration for ISHOW Kenya, a virtual event to be held June 6-14; applications are due June 1 for social entrepreneurs in the Americas seeking consideration for ISHOW USA scheduled for July. Three companies selected at each event will join the ISHOW 2023 cohort.
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“Social enterprises, now more than ever, need the support of the global impact community,” says Iana Aranda, director of ASME’s Engineering Global Development sector that houses ISHOW. “Social entrepreneurs around the world, including many ISHOW ventures, are on the frontlines of crisis response and the advancement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We are aggressively focused on providing these innovators with accessible platforms for capacity building, expert engagement and co-design of scaling strategies suited for today’s dynamic markets. Ensuring their success is of paramount importance.”
The 2023 ISHOW cohort will be invited to the annual ISHOW Bootcamp in the fall to receive an extensive and customized design and engineering review by experts recruited to guide them as they scale to market. They will also have a chance to earn a second round of seed grants from ASME. They become part of the ISHOW alumni network, an international community of hardware innovators and stakeholders with exclusive access to experts and resources.
ASME ISHOW annually matches up to 24 carefully selected innovators with appropriate engineering experts to ensure that the proposed hardware solutions are technologically, environmentally, culturally, and financially sustainable.
ASME’s panel of judges and experts includes successful entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, designers, investors, and industry representatives from leading organizations in India, Kenya, and the United States. These subject-area experts provide technical and strategic guidance based on ISHOW’s four key pillars: customer/user knowledge, hardware validation, manufacturing optimization, and implementation strategy.
Earlier this year, ASME launched the Idea Lab incubator, extending the reach of the ISHOW hardware accelerator platform.
With Idea Lab, ASME moves “upstream” to aid budding social entrepreneurs in developing and implementing their social impact hardware concepts from the pre-prototype stage. Applications for the 2023-2024 Idea Lab class will open in summer 2023.
To date, ISHOW has enabled over 200 startups from more than 30 countries to solve critical quality-of-life challenges for vulnerable populations worldwide. ISHOW alumni have developed affordable devices to address key issues related to clean combustion, crop threshing, fetal health, food waste prevention, health diagnostics, safe drinking water, and many more that advance the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
ASME is grateful to The Lemelson Foundation for its continued support of the ISHOW with a three-year strategic investment and to ISHOW implementation partners around the globe.
By Monica Shovlin