SOURCE: Vodafone Americas Foundation

Vodafone Americas Foundation

November 01, 2016 10:00 ET

Vodafone Americas Foundation™ Seeks Latest Connected Innovations to Enter the Ninth Annual Wireless Innovation Project Awards

Annual program, which has helped scale life-changing innovations including vaccine monitoring and mobile microscopes and more, to award $600,000 in prize money to new, promising solutions

REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 1, 2016) - The Vodafone Americas Foundation today opened the ninth annual Wireless Innovation Project™ (WIP), in search of the latest technology that will positively impact the global community. After supporting organizations such as Mobile ODT, which uses a phone camera for colposcopies, and Nexleaf, which makes a vaccine monitoring platform, grow into scalable businesses through the program, the Foundation is calling for new applicants with connected solutions and wireless-related technologies. Online applications will be accepted from November 1, 2016 through March 6, 2017, with winners announced in June 2017.

"Each year we encourage nonprofits, universities, non-governmental organizations, and social entrepreneurs to enter projects they are working on to change the world through wireless and mobile platforms," said June Sugiyama, Vodafone Americas Foundation Director. "We've seen incredible work over the years and we look forward to recognizing the potential behind even more innovative ways connected solutions and wireless technologies can have a positive global impact."

Since launching in 2009, WIP has awarded $4.9 million to wireless-related technologies that have the potential to solve critical issues facing the world today. Past winners have gone on to future success with more than $9.5 million in additional funding, as well as successfully reaching market to drive significant global impact following their involvement with WIP. For example:

  • Mobile ODT (2014 Winner) -- MobileODT's low-cost digital camera attachment for smartphone is a potential game-changer in reducing cervical cancer. Since winning the WIP, their Cervical Cancer Screening System has been met with enthusiastic response in 21 countries around the world, and recently expanded into Afghanistan.
  • Nexleaf (2013 Winner) -- Nexleaf's ColdTrace wireless sensor is designed to help protect children against diseases by remotely monitoring vaccine fridges in order to provide near real-time information on storage temperature and other critical infrastructure issues. The WIP grant has helped Nexleaf partner with large aid organizations like Gavi and expand into international markets and provide solutions to rural clinics and health facilities.

Three winners are selected each year with first place awarded $300,000, second place $200,000, and third place $100,000. In 2016, WIP awarded the $300,000 first place prize to Neopenda, for its affordable wearable newborn vital signs monitor that transmits data to nurses to help provide early detection when a newborn is in distress.

"The WIP funding enabled us to significantly accelerate our technology development, which allowed us to move to the next phase of piloting our solution in Uganda," said Sona Shah, CEO and Co-Founder, Neopenda. "We're thrilled to have this momentum as we push forward in our mission of building innovative technology solutions for newborns in need."

Teresa Cauvel, CTO and Co-Founder, Neopenda, added, "The support and exposure from the Vodafone Americas Foundation has been invaluable for us as a company as it has set us up for success as we move into the validation and implementation phases of our solution."
The 2017 WIP winners will receive a grant over the course of three years. In addition to grant funds, WIP recipients receive support and guidance to advance their solutions to reach the global marketplace. Vodafone brings technical expertise, partnerships and global reach that accelerate mobile innovations to deliver wider social impact than they could achieve alone.

How to Enter
Application information

  • The application is available online.
  • The competition is open to nonprofit organizations, universities, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and social entrepreneurs with a 501(c)(3) status.
  • Applicants compete for first, second and third-place prizes worth $300,000, $200,000 and $100,000, respectively.
  • Projects must be at a late stage of research, advanced prototype or field/market test; these can occur during the award period.
  • A panel of expert judges from the fields of wireless engineering, international development, social entrepreneurship and business will evaluate the finalists.
  • The mobile or wireless solution must have the potential to solve issues in the fields of education, health, access to communication, economic development and the environment/disaster relief.

Further details about the competition, eligibility, past winners, and the Foundation can be found at project.vodafone-us.com.
To follow Vodafone Americas Foundation™ on Twitter, visit @VodafoneProject.
To visit Vodafone Americas Foundation™ on Facebook, click here.

About the Vodafone Americas Foundation
The Vodafone Americas Foundation is part of Vodafone's global network of 27 foundations. It is affiliated with Vodafone Group. In addition the Wireless Innovation Project, the Vodafone Americas Foundation supports programs in the United States to Improve People's Lives, Support the Development Sector, Spark Innovation, and Empower Women and Girls. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone-us.com.

About Vodafone Group
Vodafone is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 52 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 30 June 2016, Vodafone had 465 million mobile customers and 13.7 million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com.